LOS ANGELES, September 11, 2013—President Obama spoke to the nation last night about the genocide in Syria, vowing to continue the multi-year policy that can best be described as “tough inaction.”
The biggest criticism of Obama’s Syria policy is that he appears to not have one. His most recent speech seemed less about Syria and more about his falling poll numbers.
What separated this speech from his past ones was his willingness to directly address the very concerns the American people have with Syrian intervention.
Obama has been accused of dithering for over two years on Syria. He answered the “why now?” argument by claiming that the situation changed on August 21st when Assad reportedly gassed over 1,000 people.
He called chemical weapons a “violation of the laws of war,” rather than using the softer term “norms” from previous remarks.
He cited the 1997 agreement banning these weapons signed by “98% of humanity.”
However, Obama neglected to mention that Syria never signed the chemical weapons treaty. The legal argument is useless.
The key question Obama asked is “What are we prepared to do about it?”
Obama is clear on what he is not willing to do.
“I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.”
“I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign.”
What he actually will do is another matter.
He wants a “targeted military strike,” that will “degrade” Assad’s ability to use WMD.
These undefined terms were followed by statements that ranged from harmlessly incorrect to destructively false.
In his speech, Obama accused George W. Bush of sidelining Congress. This is brazenly untrue. Bush went to Congress.
The rest of Obama’s remarks were located in the land of denial.
“A targeted strike can make any dictator think twice.”
Assad now has time to move his WMD to safe hiding places just as Saddam Hussein did between 1991 and 2003.
“Some of Assad’s opponents are extremists.”
They are radical Islamists, an important term Obama refuses to use.
Many in the “Syrian opposition just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom.”
That was the liberal wisdom in Egypt and Libya. The Muslim Brotherhood wants none of those things. They want to replace a secular evil with a theocratic Sharia radical Islamist evil.
Obama has a habit of saying that something is “the right thing to do” simply because he says so. This speech saw him scold Republicans for a “failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.”
He asked Congress to postpone a vote on the use of force only days after insisting he wanted them to vote. He also has not publicly stated whether a congressional vote would be window dressing or binding.
He promised “modest effort and risk,” without being able to back up his insistence that their would be no escalation. Events tend to spin out of control. Obama is frequently overwhelmed when they do. He has no ability to force Assad to turn over his WMD because Vladimir Putin is backing Assad and Obama is overmatched by Putin.
Fox News Analyst Brit Hume called Obama’s remarks “a speech in support of a purpose.”
The purpose was clear. It gives Obama time to find a purpose. He now has time to try and craft an actual policy. His supporters can insist that he dictated the events while the truth is Obama was a victim of circumstances brought on by John Kerry’s gaffes and Putin’s seizing on them.
While Obama can breathe a sigh of relief at being given more time, the rest of the world understands that Assad has been given more time as well.
There are no good options in Syria, but Obama still seems unable to decide on any meaningful action. A speech is not a policy, and tough inaction is still inaction.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.