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Stunning Development (Update)

from the New York Times:

In an afternoon appearance in the Rose Garden, Mr. Obama said he had decided that the United States should use force but would wait for a vote from lawmakers, who are not due to return to town until Sept. 9. Mr. Obama said he believed he had the authority to act on his own, but he did not say whether he would if Congress rejects his plan.

Update:

At today's Angelus in Saint Peter's Square Pope Francis, living up to his name, called for a day of prayer to resolve the conflict in Syria peacefully:

Pope Francis has called for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the entire Mideast region, and throughout the whole world to be held this coming Saturday, September 7th, 2013. Speaking ahead of the traditional Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square this Sunday, Pope Francis said, “On [Saturday] the 7th of September, here [in St Peter’s Square], from 7 PM until midnight, we will gather together in prayer, in a spirit of penitence, to ask from God this great gift [of peace] for the beloved Syrian nation and for all the situations of conflict and violence in the world.” The Holy Father also invited non-Catholic Christians and non-Christian believers to participate in ways they feel are appropriate. “Never again war!” said Pope Francis. “We want a peaceful world,” he said, “we want to be men and women of peace.”

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

I'm not stunned.  I'm glad our great President has chosen to follow the Constitution.

If he hadn't, the haters would have shrieked and hollered for impeachment.  

This way, everyone gets to share the blame.  

 

Meanwhile congress is not cutting their vacation short (and he has not asked them to) to address this most important decision. Shame on them. Losers.

Congress is put in the awkward position of either denying him use of force thereby rendering a vote of no confidence for the commander-in-chief (that is a very, very, very poor precedent) or approving this utter and complete folly. 

It is not a precedent that is meaningful. We have a three pronged checks and balances. Are checks and balances now going to be called no confidence. The language of the debate is messed up. This is why it is always the way the issue is phrased.

Obama caves again; his entire speech is strained and false.

Shrewd. Share responsability. If this goes down as a great mistake, Congress will have its share of blame. This might give pause to the maverick representatives and limit cries for strong action. In other words, what Gerelyn said.

Here's the least bad state for Syria that I can conceive: Assad stays in power but, to some limited extent, his actions are controled by the US or by the international community. Assuming that Assad is the one who used chemical weapons (why??), the action should be such that he will think twice about doing it again, yet leave him in power to try to prevent a further descent into chaos. A delicate balancing act. 

A suggestion from a friend: that the US plan a couple of missiles on some well-defined targets. On the day before the attack, make all communciations unencrypted. Syria hears all the plans, gets its personnel out of the way. The missiles hit some targets, but there are zero human casualties. It's a way of sending a warning to Assad while avoiding an escalation.

 

A good sign is the delay.. all know that Obama, Kerry, Biden are all men who detest  war attacks. We can give thanks and we avoided a disaster if McCain who wants a very robust attack, and VP Palin  had been elected.

 

The war hawks want lots of blood, not just limited blood: 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/31/us-syria-crisis-mccain-idUSBRE97U0ED20130831

"Republicans McCain, Graham say cannot support limited Syria strikes

 

3:55pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Saturday said they could not support isolated military strikes on Syria that are not part of a bigger strategy.

"We cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the president's stated goal of (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad's removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict, which is a growing threat to our national security interests," they said in a statement."

And, I suppose if the President pushed for "boots on the ground" these hawks wouldn't be happy without the use of nukes.  These men has prostituted what little honor they may have had.

In other news, geo-politically, Putin had an interesting comment related to a diplomatic solution.

“The U.S. president and I certainly discussed this problem at the G-8” summit in June in Northern Ireland, Putin said Saturday. “And, by the way, we agreed then that we would jointly facilitate peace negotiations in Geneva, and the Americans committed themselves to bringing the armed opposition to these negotiations. I understand this is a difficult process, and it looks like they haven't succeeded in this."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-sharply-steps-up-criti...

So the US cannot even get their proxies to the table because they are so disparate, split, and in fact probably affiliated with al Qaeda. Oh yeah, and these are the same groups the US is sending arms to. 

Comical if it were not so serious.

We are truly at war with Oceania and have always been at war with Oceania!

It is a very interesting step that does indeed weaken the powers of the imperial presidency, and perhaps demonstrates to those who might be convinced that he is not proposing action in Syria out of the same mindset that led to action in Iraq. I'm glad that there will be a debate, and I am glad to see the foreign policy elite forced to publicly criticize the sloppiness of democracy and berate Obama for not asserting his authority to do whatever he believes is in the national interest. Obama has, by agreeing to this course, stuck a blow against a core aspect of America's imperial overreach: the premise that the executive branch, in consultation with the foreign policy elite, can act irrespective of congressional approval and in utter disdain towards the messiness of domestic politics.

Shared responsibility.  By all means.

Given all the references to the U.N in the preamble, and given the importance of having international consensus, the resolution should say that when (and if) the U.N. Security Council authorizes military action, then and only then may the president act, but with language much more specific than the open-ended and unlimited blank-check authority that is in the current version ("as he determines to be necessary and appropriate").

But since use of chemical weapons is a criminal action in violation of international law, is not the right course of action for Eric Holder to get an indictment against Assad and try him in a court of law?

Claire --

This is the way I have always thought that Pres. Truman should have used the Bomb -- tell the Japanese that there is a new, tremendous weapon, and tell them that athe U. S. will blow up a small Pacific Ocean island to scare them into surrender.

It might work if the U. S. would tell Assad that we will blow up their chemical munitions and then do it.

(Who is supplying him with munitions?  Russia?  Or is no one supplying him hardware, so that is why he is producing the chemicals?)

I attended mass last night as a visitor in a different diocese.  During his sermon, the priest spoke for peace and criticized the proposed bombing of Syria.  He explicitly eschewed politics.  He spoke in a very humble way - it seemed to come from his heart.  The assembly spontaneously applauded - which is notable, as this is the sort of parish community that would tend to rally to the flag and the commander in chief.

It's not clear to me that Congress will approve the resolution.  I believe this issue cuts across both left and right, and there will be opposition and, probably, support from both sides of the aisle.  Just my amateur prediction.

The British Parliament really seems to have made things very difficult for President Obama.

But - here's the political question that inquiring minds want to know: where does Hillary Clinton, former Obama Administration Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, stand on this issue?  I was struck that, when President Obama walked into the Rose Garden yesterday, he wasn't alone; he was accompanied by his Vice President.  Joe Biden has stated by his presence at that news conference yesterday that he supports the President's policy.  But what about Clinton?  Here is an opportunity for her to lend some badly needed support to her former boss, or alternatively to make a bold policy distinction between the Obama Administration and a (Hillary) Clinton Administration.  But so far, it seems she chooses neither.  Here is Ruby Cramer at BuzzFeed:

When the White House debated this week over the appropriate response to the chemical attack in Syria, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not release a comment. When the administration declassified an intelligence report Friday detailing the death toll — 1,429 people, including 426 children — Clinton stayed silent. And Saturday afternoon, when President Obama announced he’d “take action against Syrian regime targets,” Hillary Clinton again released no comment.

The nation’s former top diplomat — and until recently a key voice in favor of intervention in Syria — has remained notably quiet on the subject, even as the country seems poised on the precipice of a missile strike that remains contentious among members of both parties and lacks strong public support.

Press corp, do your job: pin down Hillary Clinton on where she stands on this momentous policy decision.  Do not let her weasel out of taking a position.  The American people have a right to know, right now, where this person who would be president stands.  

 

Thanks for your comment, George D.  Why, in your view, is it shameful that Congress waits a week before taking up this issue? 

And why would a "no" vote be a poor precedent? (And for whom?) 

 

"Press corp, do your job: pin down Hillary Clinton on where she stands on this momentous policy decision.  Do not let her weasel out of taking a position.  The American people have a right to know, right now, where this person who would be president stands."  

Good idea!  Don't let any of the weasels get away with not speaking up!  Here are some hints about where they stand:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rand-paul-marco-rubio-ted-cruz-weigh-syri...

Luke:

It is shameful because this is an issue of grave importance or at least the administration until yesterday suggested that it is. What is the US messaging to the Syrans. How I read it is that they are psychologically traumatizing them by saying oh well we might bomb you tomorrow, or next week or a month from now. Yawn. So children are probably having nightmares. People's lives are being distrupted. While the United States dangles and yawns around whether we might lob just a few missles in a limited, punitive way. Oh, and of course the United States in their benevolence will do their very best to ensure that civilian damage is minimized. Their arrogance is astounding.

Before we need to do that our members have to take time from luxuriating in their mansions, finishing their golf games, wrapping up fishing. Oh and then, and only then will we take this item up on the agenda.

A no vote would be a collosal repudiation of the commander-in-chief's judgment. It would be a vote of no confidence in his and his teams decision. It would undermine his authority to speak for the nation. He has already said that he is going to strike and that he has arrived at that decision. If congress undermines him, then leaders of the world have to wonder who speaks for the country. Or, at least, at a minimum, the president will have to be much more circumspect in what he says and should avoid using reckless language like "red- lines" and playing chicken with countries. When you lose at chicken your strength is diminished. 

Don't get me wrong I think that they should vote no on this folly. It cannot be personal. Obama has so mismanaged and bungled this whole thing and the risk of world war and further blow back is far greater than salvaging his reputation. On the other hand, when it comes to foreign affairs, the country needs to speak with one voice, and there needs to be trust in the leader (the president) irrespective of party. So, it is a tough vote.

Finally, I think Putin is a voice of sanity on the geo-political stage and he should be listened to and respected far more. He has said if the US has evidence, then present it to the UN Security Council for a vote. The US just cannot violate international law and act so recklessly.

Jim P. =

I share your concern about Hilary Clinton.  Never forget that she was originally a Goldwater Republican, a very belligerent thing to be.  I think she has probably grown as a result of her experience as Secretary of State, but grown how?  More or less hawkish?   Her silence now indicates to me that she is trying to protect herself politically -- if she says nothing she  hopes the people won't hold her responsible for the outcome whatever it is.  She has gone down in my estimation.  I'm ready to look for another Democratic candidate in '16.

Gerelyn, thanks for that link.  If I may say so, it's a rather stunning example of that MSM double standard that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are always caterwauling about.  The article is laid out in such a way that the reader is led to suppose that it has presumptive-candidate Clinton's current views, but it doesn't contain a quote or statement from her fresher than last February.  One or two things have happened since then, e.g. Assad apparently really has gassed his own people, and the President is planning to launch cruise missiles.  Why can we hear the crickets now?  

This debacle may be the most open example of "The Twilight of The Elites." 

 

That is a blatant pitch for Christoper Hayes' new book of the same title.  I highly recommend it.

The (London) Tablet weighs in (http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/164609)

Feature Article

Syria: moral dilemma facing today’s leaders

Ethics of military action

Ivor Roberts - 31 August 2013

After a suspected chemical weapons attack on his own people by the Assad regime in Syria, the clamour for the West to act is growing. But there is unease about the consequences of military intervention both for the volatile Middle East and for the uneasy alliances of the wider world.

August, rather than T.S. Eliot’s April, seems to be the cruellest month. In exactly a year’s time, we shall be marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the conflict from which all the calamities of the rest of the last century sprang. The Nazis massed on the Polish border in August 1939; the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968 and Saddam Hussein went into Kuwait in the same month in 1990.

This August has brought us the horror of chemical warfare in Syria, in the Ghouta area outside Damascus, where the prime suspect is the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Assads have form: Assad père, the former Syrian ruler, Hafez al-Assad, was accused of using hydrogen cyanide gas in Hama in 1982, when he besieged Muslim Brotherhood forces there, with casualty figures varying between 10,000 and 40,000. There have been unverified but credible accounts of uses of chemical weapons already in this conflict by government forces and indeed by the opposition as well.

The use of chemical weapons is banned by the 1925 Geneva Convention; their use against civilians constitutes a crime against humanity. The question is, having assigned or determined responsibility, what to do about it?

And here the problems start. Indeed, the first problem is the red line that US President Barack Obama drew a year ago over the use of chemical weapons. Of course, their use is appalling. But why are the deaths, however horrible, of a few hundred by chemical weapons worse than the 100,000 deaths (of which about half are civilians) by conventional means so far recorded by the United Nations? The indiscriminate massacres, often of women and children, the shelling of civilian areas by the Assad forces for months: these are also war crimes and surely merit red lines of their own.

When the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, visited Damascus last weekend, she secured, rather against the odds, an agreement for UN inspectors to visit the site of this latest massacre. It remains to be seen whether the state of the site yields incontrovertible evidence of the Assad regime’s guilt. Logic suggests that the evidence must have been contaminated or degraded, either to point to the use of chemical weapons by opposition forces or, to mix one’s metaphors, to muddy the waters so substantially that there is no clear evidence either way.

Bashar al-Assad is many things, but he is not unintelligent. While opaqueness shrouds this lastest incident, Syria’s protector, Russia, can bat away calls for the UN Security Council to authorise the use of force. To allow a clear-cut determination of Assad’s guilt to be made would strip away Russia’s excuses. If Assad’s forces were, as seems very likely, responsible, the timing is odd, coming as it did only days after UN weapons experts were admitted to the country to carry out limited inspections.

Conspiracy theorists, drawing on models from the Balkan wars, would be tempted to say that the opposition might have faked or provoked a chemical weapons attack in a last desperate effort to compel Western military intervention. And, indeed, it does seem bizarre for Assad to cross in such a flagrant manner a publicly stated red line when the balance of success in this long-running war has seemed to be swinging in his Government’s favour. Yet even the intelligent can act irrationally. Perhaps, emboldened by Russia’s support, Assad believed he could cock a snook at the West’s red lines.

Russian support for the regime has been a major hurdle in securing an internationally agreed response to the crisis. We are now faced with the near certainty of a Russian (and Chinese) veto of any UN Security Council resolution authorising the use of force. They will be extremely wary of allowing any resolution through, even for limited action, given what they saw as Western trickery over Libya. In that case, authorisation for limited air strikes for humanitarian purposes was quickly extended by the British and French to bombing missions actively aimed at forcing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power.

In the absence of a UN resolution, the option remains for unilateral action or a coalition of the willing. This is illegal, of course, as it was in Iraq, but hardly without precedent. Given the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither the US nor the United Kingdom will be prepared to introduce ground troops, but the talk of no-fly zones and limited air strikes suggests the direction in which President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron are heading, with or without the cover of international law.

Bombing people to the conference table was the Nixon/Kissinger strategy in Vietnam – hardly an encouraging example. In Syria, neither side has showed much interest in negotiation and the strong influx of foreign jihadists on the rebels’ side, and of Hezbollah support for Assad, has made a negotiated
settlement more, not less, remote.

So what can the war aims of the putative Western belligerents be? Punishment brings its own satisfaction and with it the promise of inevitable further retribution if the crime is repeated. But it will not, of itself, bring about a definitive resolution. Regime change is once again the real war aim, an aim that is buried under rhetoric about a more inclusive government, in which Assad and his family are sent packing by the rest of the regime’s nomenklatura.

But regime change to what? The Free Syrian Army is itself a coalition of forces without a proper military structure. In recent months it has been partially overshadowed by the influx of foreign jihadists and the disproportionate role of the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most aggressive force fighting the Government. This has led to a civil war within a civil war among opposition forces, between secularists and Islamists, with the latter in the ascendant, just as in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was able to sideline the liberal secular forces so evident in Tahrir Square at the outset of the demonstrations to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak.

All this underlines the reality that there are no moderate groups capable of filling the power vacuum in the event of the collapse of the regime. Do we really want to engineer regime change only to create a power vacuum that would be filled by Islamists?

There are complicated questions with no pat answers in the Syrian imbroglio, which is precisely why Western leaders have been reluctant to get drawn into the quagmire other than diplomatically. The crossing of one so-called red line does not reduce the complexity of the situation on the ground or the collision of disparate religious and ethnic communities.

The present-day Syrian state was carved fairly arbitrarily out of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War under the terms of a map secretly drawn up by two Allied diplomats, the British Mark Sykes and the Frenchman, François George-Picot. The Sykes-Picot Agreement divided the area into French and British zones of influence. Syria’s identity was, as a consequence, less national in character, rather more based on clans, religious sectarianism and family loyalties. Its religious/ethnic mix comprises Sunni, Shia (Alawites), Kurds, Christians, Druze, Armenians and Turks. While all have suffered in the recent struggle, minorities have been under particular pressure. The number of refugee, estimated at two million, is hugely destabilising for the whole region, in particular for Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

What began as a popular uprising against an odious regime has descended into an internecine conflict between Sunni and Shia, whose antagonism is mirrored externally by respective Sunni and Shia states and organisations supporting their co-religionists. As a consequence, the continuing survival of Syria as a unitary statelooks increasingly problematic. And not just Syria: Iraq’s well- documented divisions could easily lead to a reversion to the three pre-Sykes-Picot Ottoman provinces. The Kurds in both Syria and Iraq would be jubilant at the prospect. And Lebanon, where the Syrian conflict has already spilled over, could also break up.

Notwithstanding the complexities, the level of Western rhetoric has risen to the extent that President Obama, David Cameron and French President François Hollande may feel that they have to answer the call of the “something must be done” campaigners. To fail to respond to the crossing of a clearly set red line risks making politicians look weak, their greatest nightmare. But military action must be about more than dealing with the self-inflicted problem of heightened public expectations.

The real risk is that a bombing campaign, particularly an exclusively Western one, will further destabilise the region and could well suck in Assad’s allies, Iran and Hezbollah in particular. Israel could use the distraction of general military action in the area to pursue its own agenda by launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent Tehran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

This concatenation of events might even bring in Russia, a consistently staunch ally of both Assads, and Turkey, and lead to the conflict spreading outside the immediate area. This may appear fanciful but similar links, alliances and miscalculations led us to the First World War. The ghosts of August 1914 have not been entirely laid to rest.

* Sir Ivor Roberts is president of Trinity College, Oxford, and a former British ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland and Italy.

 

 

"If I may say so, it's a rather stunning example of that MSM double standard that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are always caterwauling about."   

I don't listen to Rush, but something tells me he and his devotees are unlikely to be interested in anything Hillary Clinton  says about anything or when she says it.  

The article gave plenty of details about the red meat the Republican presidential hopefuls are throwing to their ravenous followers -- fresh and juicy.  Surely Cruz and Santorum and Paul and Rubio were delighted with the publicity.  Where's the "double standard"?

(I think the Republicans in Congress are unhappy with being asked to assume their Constitutional responsibility.)  

This matter really is above petty American partisan politics.  Besides, the usual petty partisan talk gets to be rather tiresome after a while.  And I am sure that it is all totally irrelevant to the people of Syria and their future well being.  Better to simply stick to the merits of the matter.

What is the purpose in committing acts of war against Syria?

From what President Obama and the rest of the Administration seem to be saying, it is to be a "punitive action," something entirely backward-looking, which they concede will not really improve the situation, which, in the words of the Administration's own draft resolution, "will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement."  If death raining down up people will not serve the interests of peace, if acts of war against them will not make Syria safe for democracy or make it safe for freedom and peace, but will in all likelihood only make it safe to further persecute Chrisitans in retaliation, is this a moral act?

Let's not drag Rush and the Republican Congress and long-dead Goldwater into this or any other of the usual demons and boogeymen and strawmen that are so often used to deflect and project and otherwise avoid the real moral question at hand.

Obama and his policies -- including his death warrants and surprise attack drone strikes and policy of kill and avoid capture and now, his intention to bomb a country that has not attacked us or otherwise posed a threat to us, even if they've done criminal things to their own people, and then expecting to just walk away without acknowledging that war has consequences -- stand alone in the moral calculus.

This is a literary comment on the situation and in no sense to be considered either pro- or anti- a strike. In Canto VI of the Paradiso, Beatrice, in her professorial way, lectures Dante on the importance of vows, stressing that they should mean what they say, and should be honored by those who make them. As usual, Dante chooses two examples of bad vow-makers, one from sacred, the other from profane, history: Jephthah, in the Book of Judges, who promised to sacrfice the first living being he sees on returning home if he is granted victory, and Agamemnon who promises to sacrifice the most beautiful being in his kingdom if the winds change to blow his armada to Troy. Two girls, of course, are the victims: Jephthah's beloved daughter, and and Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia. Robert Hollander, in his notes to Paradiso, points out that Aquinas cites Jephthah's vow as the sort that should not be made to begin with, and if made, certainly should not be upheld. And Aquinas quotes Jerome saying that Jephthah "was only being foolish when he made such a vow, but he turned impious when he kept it."

Might that also be a warning against red lines, lines in the sand, and such? The NYT today has an article citing a number of experts (Ryan Crocker among them) saying that a strike might well make matters far worse, and hurt the very people we are trying to help. Is he right? I wish I knew.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/world/middleeast/experts-fear-us-plan-...

This tension has been on-going since the Vietnam War and the War Powers Act.  Reams of paper were dedicated to the debate over the US *Imperial Presidency* and various forms of this were seen during Reagan, Clinton, and especially both Bushes.

IMO, this is a smart move for a number of reasons - Obama himself as a senator strongly reinforced the need for Congress to be consulted;  the War Powers Act has been revised since the Tonkin Gulf Resolution based upon the changing dynamics of the world; it gives Obama time to raise this issue at the G20 summit; now the Arab League has weighed in; the UN and even UK may wind up having time to discuss; UN investigators' report will be published in this same time period; it gives Obama and others a forum to raise the issue of what to do specifically about WMD and chemical weapons when world treaties have outlawed their use -what do we do as world citizens when a tyrant uses these weapons or extremists or terrorists?  This is an issue that needs to be discussed building upon the precedent of Kosovo....it needs to include African genocides, etc.

There seems to be two primary questions - can this be limited to illegal chemical weapons use?  and if so, how can a surgical strike (even over a few days) degrade, destroy, or send a message to not use these weapons again?  There appear to be few options left - overthrowing the government sounds good but who will ensure chemical weapons security?  there appears to be no regime or anti-regime elements that can or will negotiate?  What do you do in the face of a power vacuum or a tyrant who refuses to negotiate?

It is well past time to have this discussion both domestically (Congress) and internationally - UN, G20, Arab League, NATO, etc. 

More shocking developments. Members of the military openly engaging in resistance against policie of commander-in-chief. I have not seen anything like this. 

 

<img>http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/anonymous-soldier-pr...

Hang on. I know this is a dead thread, but surely you're being unfair to Hillary Clinton. She's the immediate ex-Secretary of State in the same administration that's currently in office. Her successor is facing his first challenge. Any comment from her, beyond "I have full faith in Sec. Kerry,  would be completely inappropriate -- it would undercut both Kerry and Obama. (If she were a retired bishop or pope we'd all see this). Just because you've discerned that she's going to run for president doesn't mean she's got to forsake all loyalty to her nation or to the administration of which she was a part.

Mark P:  agreed, 100%

Ditto.  

Any comment from her, beyond "I have full faith in Sec. Kerry,  would be completely inappropriate -- it would undercut both Kerry and Obama.

Yet she hasn't even mustered that.

Her President is twisting right now.  Britain has abandoned him.  The American people don't seem to be with him on this policy.  Congress may deal him the worst rebuke of his presidency.  And she has, in the past, advocated a policy that seems consonant with what he is proposing.  I'd think that a statement from her to the effect, "I support the President and Secretery Kerry" could help rally Democrats to support the President on this issue.

Here is CNN with more background on her silence.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/03/should-hillary-clinton-weigh-in-on-syria/

 

It's not about Hillary being loyal to the Administration or being loyal to Kerry or loyal to her nation.  It's not about her President twisting.  It's not about him, him, him, or about rallying her party or supporting the president.

 

It is about doing the right thing.  It is about truth.  It is about whether committing acts of war are going to improve the situation, about whether they are even intended to improve the situation, or whether they will make things worse by increasing the likelihood that innocent people (e.g. Christians) will end up being attacked.

 

You don't go lobbing a bunch of missiles and killing people just to be loyal to some political leader. 

Agree, Bender.

Those cynical enough to hope that Hillary will be goaded into providing them with another bludgeon to use against her should explain their own small-mindedness, wilful ignorance of history, etc.

Alan Grayson was good on Thomas Roberts' show on MSNBC this morning.  When Roberts shut up long enough to let Grayson get a word in, Grayson explained why it's stoooopid to call this a "Munich moment," and why we should be concentrate on our own problems rather than interfering in a civil war.  

Roberts interrupted again to say something about Can't we walk and chew gum at the same time.  How eager the war mongers are to pound more sand into ratholes.

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About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is an associate professor of theology at Boston College.