Wednesday December 11, 2013
September 12th, 2013
Our country is about to make the most excruciating kind of decision, the most dire: whether to commence a military campaign whose real costs and ultimate consequences are unknowable.
Say, did you see the news from Libya - the last country we bombed because its leader crossed a red line or was about to? Here's a dispatch from Libya in the Sept. 3 British newspaper, The Independent:
When I was a law student in 1982, I escaped torts by backpacking through Syria and taking a public bus to Hama, where the government had suppressed a rebellion by massacring some 20,000 people.
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize had been up late pleading for war.
The president looked exhausted as he met the press in St. Petersburg on Friday. The man elected because of his magical powers of persuasion had failed to persuade other world leaders at dinner the night before about a strike on Syria.
He said he had told his fellow leaders, "I was elected to end wars and not start them."
Some 45 years and 12 presidential elections ago, a young campaign insider named Joe McGinnis wrote a tell-all book called "The Selling of the President 1968." It peeled away the most conniving calculations that helped put Richard Nixon in the Oval Office, and told much about Nixon himself.
One of the most gut-wrenching scenes from Syria is captured in the images of row upon row of dead civilians. The dead include many children, swaddled in white cloths, angels laid down never to rise again.
According to the United States, President Bashar Assad of Syria used chemical weapons Aug. 21 to kill 1,429 of his own citizens, 426 of them children.
Congress is asking the wrong questions about Syria. The issue can't be who wins the civil war. It has to be whether the regime of Bashar al-Assad should be punished for using chemical weapons -- and, if the answer is yes, whether there is any effective means of punishment other than a U.S. military strike.
President Barack Obama will likely wait to announce his nominee to lead the U.S. Federal Reserve until after Congress votes on military action in Syria and probably until the immediate outcome of a strike is clear, according to several people close to the White House.
"Syria right now has kind of paralyzed the town," said David Plouffe, a former senior Obama adviser. "They'll wait until the dust clears."
Welcome aboard, Time magazine. So glad you decided to join our little bandwagon!
I'm referring, as you may already know, to the cover story in the current issue. "It's Time to Pay College Athletes," reads the headline, accompanied by the current poster boy for the issue, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Indeed it is.
Barack Obama's presidential tenure has been marked by a rather naive supposition that his persuasive powers and the justice of his positions can overcome objections in both domestic and foreign policy, and eventually carry the day.
How else to explain his confidence that the international community, and a consistently obstructionist Congress at home, would readily endorse his determination to use military force against Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons?