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What Did Obama Just Say?


obama syria


President Obama just announced that 1. we should take action against Syria in response to chemical weapons attacks recently carried out against their own people and that 2. he will ask Congress first.

Which brings up the question: what if Congress says, “No?”

It’s hard to see how his announcement means anything other than, “We should attack Syria and use tomahawk missiles to take out their chemical munitions.  And we might.”

With these issues, I don’t think that we should begin from a point of pro-intervention versus non-intervention.  That’s the kind of simplistic thinking that either leads us charging into a decade-long morass, or else has us comfortably on the sideline, watching as holocausts go by.  I think a better set of questions is this:

1. Is the action warranted morally?
2. Is it in the interest of the United States?
3. Are there specific military goals which can be achieved and clear endpoints which don’t involve “hearts and minds,” “cultural changes,” or “nation-building”?

In short, can we do a specific thing to achieve a specific goal, and is this likely to lead to a necessity (morally, politically) to extend our involvement once done?



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