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September 1, 2013

Column: Attack on Syria would be only for show

For President Obama, this past week may turn out to be an unpleasant turning point in his presidency: The moment when the magical insulation of not being George W. Bush finally wore too thin to protect him.

The president’s expressed determination to send “a pretty strong signal” to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through what he called “a shot across the bow” for the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons to massacre its own citizens is not going down well with his media lapdogs or even the mainstream left, never mind those from the far-left fever swamps.

The New York Times is not happy with him. Neither is its soon-to-be-former satellite organ the Boston Globe. Even satirical columnist Andy Borowitz is mocking him in The New Yorker, “quoting” Obama assuring the nation that any U.S. action in Syria would have “no objective whatsoever.”

Yes, the president still has his unconditional loyalists. Vice President Joe Biden, who once said the president, “has no constitutional authority ... to take this nation to war ... unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof we are about to be attacked. And if he does, I would move to impeach him,” is conspicuously quiet now.

Of course, that was in 2007 when some other guy was president, and both Biden and Obama will argue that a military attack against another country is not technically taking the nation to war – a distinction they would have derided as absurd when that other guy was president.

Still, Biden was on much more solid ground then, and the president deserves the grief he is getting from his usual allies.

A disclaimer here: My loyal fans and fierce critics know I am not a kneejerk opponent of military force. I think war is always a terrible thing, but that sometimes it is the only way to prevent a greater evil.

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