Archive for Friday, September 6, 2013

Editorial: Dangerous fork

President Obama’s decision concerning action against Syria will have a far-reaching impact around the world.

September 6, 2013

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For five-plus years, President Obama has talked about working with Republicans in Congress, but there is little evidence he has been sincere in this nice-sounding campaign pledge.

The record shows he has given a cold shoulder to Republicans and has been highly partisan in his dealings with Congress.

Now, as he faces an extremely dangerous and complex situation in Syria, he is calling in top GOP leaders and asking, some say begging, for their support of his limited strike,” “shot over the bow” plan of action against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Obama, his senior aides an advisers must have been shocked when our nation’s closest ally, Great Britain, refused to back his action plan. Growing numbers of Democrat and GOP members of Congress seem to be backing away from a quick endorsement of the Obama blueprint. Now, Obama is denying he set the so-called “red line,” which, if crossed by Syrian leaders, would trigger a strong response by U.S. military forces. He claims the “world,” not he, set this red line. He said his credibility is not being questioned.

Regardless, the red line first was crossed almost a year ago and again several weeks ago, when poison gas was used against rebel forces and Syrian civilians. Obama’s bluff was called, and now he is asking Congress to cover him by authorizing “limited action” against Assad.

The current debate over the effectiveness of a cosmetic “pinprick” limited attack, along with questions about the final objectives and goals of a military strike or the possible engagement of neighboring countries has caused wavering among many in Congress. Various observers have said that, right now, it is a toss-up whether Congress will give the green light for action against Syria.

Unfortunately, a majority of Americans do not have confidence in the abilities of Obama to handle the complex and dangerous situation that he has allowed to grow in Syria over the past several years. He claims it is not his reputation, but rather the reputation of America and the world, that is on the line if the U.S. does not take strong action against Assad.

The current situation and how it is handled or resolved represents a huge fork in the road for Obama and his level of effectiveness for the remaining years of his presidency. Likewise, in many ways, his inaction over past years also had placed this country at a fork in the road as to its reputation throughout the world among both allies and enemies.

Comments

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 12 months ago

Obama is a liar. It has been shown again and again that we cannot believe a word he says. He lies so much, that even he has great difficulty separating truth from fiction. The only extent we should be involved in Syria is to arm the rebels, but only after we know who we are arming. We must determine that they are not terrorists and that they would not be as bad as Assad. We must be certain that it will not hurt Israel. We have been promising to assist them way too long. If it is to be done, the determination and assistance should have been done long ago. Quit promising to help them, and do nothing.

Gary Anderson 1 year, 11 months ago

List, with specifics, just one lie...just one. No Goggling either...just one absolute, unequivocal lie.

Peacemaker452 1 year, 11 months ago

How about the promise to close GITMO?

I will admit that I searched for the exact quote so that there was no question on exactly what he said.

Don't bother trying to deflect the blame for GITMO on anyone else, either. He did not say he would close GITMO if Congress let him. He clearly stated that he would close it.

"As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists."

Peacemaker452 1 year, 11 months ago

A lie is generally defined as making a statement that is known to be not true, with the intent of deceiving the recipient.

At the time that he made the statement quoted above, Obama knew full well that, even as President, he would not be able to close GITMO on just his own authority. He has also proven over time to have no interest in rejecting the Military Commissions Act or applying the Constitution and/or UCMJ to terrorist.

You can try to spin it any way you want but it was clearly meant to deceive the voting public and he clearly knew it was a false statement.

So you are correct, it is not a lie because he failed. It is a lie because it is a lie.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

Based on a little research, I found that he did in fact sign an executive order to close Gitmo very early on in his presidency.

He then tried to establish a detention center to move the inmates to, but was unable to because Congress made a law prohibiting detention centers like that in the US.

Seems to me that he followed through on his stated intentions, and did what he could do almost immediately, and continued trying to close it, but was frustrated in that attempt by Congress.

When politicians campaign, they often make broad statements about what they will do, without including the various caveats about our 3 part system and checks and balances. Intelligent well educated voters understand that, and understand that they are laying out their priorities and intentions, but that presidents don't have unlimited power.

Folks less well educated about our system are more likely to expect too much from presidents.

I would prefer that politicians didn't speak so broadly about all of the things they will do once elected, but it appears that the average voter wants those sorts of things - I'm sure that's why they do it.

After all, it wouldn't be so impressive to say "I'll do what I can, but you know we have a 3 part system with checks and balances, and so I may not be able to do much once elected".

Peacemaker452 1 year, 11 months ago

Jafs, Despite your thinly veiled attempt to label me as a voter who is not intelligent or well educated, I will reply with my thoughts.

Your basic argument seems to be that since all politicians lie during campaigns, it is OK.

You support this argument with such jewels as “he tried” and “he is not all powerful”.

You then close with the idea that you wish they wouldn’t lie but everyone else seems to like it, so you will accept it.

You seem to be ignoring the fact that the original question was to name a lie. I did that.

The fact that Obama made a campaign promise that was not in his power to keep simply bolsters my argument, it doesn’t excuse his behavior.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

I didn't mean anything personal at all, and if you were offended, I apologize.

Much in politics is distasteful to me, and that includes how politicians campaign, spin things, etc. as well as how they promise to do something for the voters in exchange for their vote.

I would be willing to bet that all candidates for president make campaign promises that they can't fulfill on their own. But, as I said, voters don't want to hear about the intricacies of how Congress works, filibusters, etc. from candidates.

I would prefer they look at things differently, and to that end, I do my best to present them with accurate unbiased information about how our system works, and how it's intended to work. But, I find limited success in that endeavor - many people like a simpler view, even if it's less accurate (I don't mean to imply that of you).

The problem is that we vote for politicians - as a group, they have many unpleasant characteristics. But, we have to make the best choice we can find among them. We don't have saints running for president.

From that perspective, I have found Obama to be the better choice, relatively speaking, than his opponents. Would I like him to be even better? Sure, but I'm not going to spend a lot of time and energy trying to get a politician not to act like a politician. It does mean, though, that I'm much less excited about his presidency than some, and often point out flaws on his side to more dedicated liberal Democrats.

I think the reason some of them resist seeing those is that the people usually pointing them out are implying somehow that McCain or Romney (or the R candidate of your choice) are somehow above the kinds of problems that all politicians share, as far as I can tell. And, they don't agree with that view, or that either of them would have been better than Obama.

Peacemaker452 1 year, 11 months ago

I certainly did not intend to imply that I thought that any other politician or candidate from any party is not guilty of the same thing as Obama. In my opinion, that still doesn’t absolve Obama of guilt.

I also don’t believe that McCain or Romney would have been much better, but probably not any worse.

I do think that certain individuals, from multiple parties, are much more truthful than others. I will tend to vote for these people, regardless of party, based as much on how I perceive their honesty as their exact positions, as long as they don’t violate my core beliefs.

It is certainly a shame that we have devolved our political involvement into commercial sound bites, voting for candidates the same way we pick our laundry soap. Must be why I keep trying to get them to add “None of the above” to all the ballots.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

Sure - and that's a more balanced view. If most of the people attacking Obama for certain things held it, it would be a more valid and reasonable criticism. Of course, I'm not sure where things go from there - once we've judged politicians wanting, what then?

I think McCain or Romney would have been worse. From a policy standpoint, I prefer Obama, generally speaking, although not completely. My ideal candidate would include the strengths of liberal and conservative thought, and eliminate the weaknesses of both.

That's interesting - you vote for honesty, rather than policy.

It is a real shame, and we suffer as a nation because of it.

pc9323 1 year, 12 months ago

What message are we sending as US backed rebels commit war crimes in plain sight?

Search Militants kill Syrian soldiers execution style: Video

To take action search Demand a NO vote on US attacks on Syria

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 12 months ago

Obama is very smart. He has tossed this hot potato to the U.S. Congress knowing full well that the congress will do absolutely nothing. This gets him off the hook. The Republican infected congress will never agree to anything the black dude non-citizen in the White House requests and the President knows this full well.

optimist 1 year, 12 months ago

NO! Are we kidding? There is no lesser evil here. Both sides of this civil war are evil to the core. At least the Assad regime has been less than anti-American. In the absence of a pro-American or at least a pro-Liberty side to this war there is no place for US military intervention. If we bomb them what will actually be accomplished? We run the risk of collateral damage for no gain. Lastly, every politician has promised no "boots on the ground". If this intervention isn't worth risking American lives then it is not in our interests to take part. The President is flat wrong and his "red line" shows what a foreign policy neophyte he really is.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 12 months ago

If we hadn't invaded Europe in 1944, we would be witnessing Hitler and his descendants murdering the last vestiges of the Jewish race. And probebly speaking German.

So this is what we want.

smileydog 1 year, 12 months ago

The only way Obama gets Congress to back his plan of action is if he has the scoop on our elected officials from his widespread surveillance of emails and phone calls, to blackmail them into submission.

James Minor 1 year, 12 months ago

The Syrian conflict requires UN intervention, not US intervention. If this is a violation of world security and the UN does not require equal participation from other countries, the US must wait this one out until the world sees what the US is talking about. We can't always be the ones risking our lives, national security, and finances, while other countries sit back and do nothing. Obama has a good heart and mind regarding why we must intervene, but the US won't stop this conflict with bombing or a full scale attack. Syria must settle it on their own and if they don't like their leader and way of life then they must change it, and America should let it happen.

Keith 1 year, 12 months ago

"For five-plus years, President Obama has talked about working with Republicans in Congress, but there is little evidence he has been sincere in this nice-sounding campaign pledge."

More humor in the editorial page.

George Lippencott 1 year, 12 months ago

So we propose to shoot up Syria at a million dollars a missile. This is supposed to be enough to teach a lesson but not enough to change the regime. As an aside I wonder when war became that precise. We are to do this because chemical weapons are bad and using them a violation of the world order

. Now if the world is offended where are they? The UN should be in the lead. Back channel support is not support. If Turkey and Iraq closed their airspace, France blockaded the Syrian coast and Europe supported the “good” rebels this would all settle out without much more bloodshed - but the UN needs to play.

If we shoot unilaterally as the US we are in a sense declaring war on the nation calling itself Syria. It has a right to retaliate. If it does do we then shoot more missiles? What if retaliation comes as poison gas in our Metro in DC? Do we shoot more missiles and if so at whom. What if Iran shoots at Israel? Do we shoot at Iran? Does Israel shoot at Iran? If Iran shoots at American ships or our bases in the region do we shoot even more at Iran. This can go on ad nausea. Are we prepared to keep upping the ante until - what - we nuke Iran?

We did this in Vietnam, we did it in Iraq, and we did it in Afghanistan. In each case we were not prepared to keep escalating. Our opponents called our bluff. We all know about the resultant mess. Who among us wants the job of telling the wives and families of our lost warriors that their efforts were in vain because our politicians did not appreciate the nature and discipline of our enemies.

If we are not prepared to escalate up to and including nuclear weapons against Iran we best stay out of this mess or we will add Syria to the trilogy of lost causes of the last half century.

Armstrong 1 year, 11 months ago

Does the rest of the world realize just how truly dangerous the US has become within the last 5 years. Really, these clowns running our country have the rest of the world laughing at our incompetence to the extent they may actually hurt themselves. Stupid trumping stupid has made this country a complete military, economic and foreign policy joke. Mercifully the laugh factory will cease to exist in 2016.

Seth Peterson 1 year, 11 months ago

2005 called, they want their post back - of course it was true then.

The rest of the world has known how dangerous the US has become in the last 50+ years, with our continued meddling in other countries affairs, our inability to get out of the middle-east and our constant need to have our way, regardless of which nation's citizens are punished.

They laugh at us not for the clowns that run our country, but because there are individuals who believe this is a new fact and are oblivious to what has truly been a very short history of violence, but we only care to examine how it affects us internally and use it for political spin, rather than actually caring about fixing it and becoming educated about it.

Trumbull 1 year, 11 months ago

No way should we be getting involved in this. This is a civil war. There is no "red line" when it comes to good guys and bad guys. Probably a mix of both on each side.

This is a UN issue all the way. I cannot believe that we are even having this debate in congress. Have we not learned anything. Just about everything the US gets involved in post WWII is an utter disaster and waste of human life.

It is also a waste in quality of life for us here. What could we have done with all of the resources we flushed down the toilet in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan?

Stop_the_Madness 1 year, 11 months ago

We have a president who is in way over his head. The only reason he was elected in 2008 is the lack of competition for McCain (video poker player in the Senate) and Palin (totally incompetent). Obama has no face that can be saved so there is no reason to waste money we do not have for an effort with no objective. Our record vs. the weakest opponents speaks for itself. Congress need to tell him no so he can pout in the corner.

Seth Peterson 1 year, 11 months ago

Or they can say 'No' because that's all that they do, and we can all be confident that he avoided taking us to a military action where we don't belong.

He has handled this particular situation spectacularly. He doesn't want to be involved, and he got congress to shockingly agree with him and make the decision that needed to be made to keep us out of it.

Gary Anderson 1 year, 11 months ago

The President has gotten nearly every Republican to vote NO to bombing a foreign country just because he said we should...tomorrow I hope he tells congress how much he loves guns and hates the environment!

oldbaldguy 1 year, 11 months ago

the bigger picture here, is the background, training, experience, judgment, knowledge, intelligence, and charisma required to be an effective President. Who is showing up in 2016?

elliottaw 1 year, 11 months ago

And the little retard Bush baby didnt make you scream this?

Mike Ford 1 year, 11 months ago

I remember a president that was a figurehead.....I remember a vice president who was a warmonger going back to Reagan......I remember believe our lie or you're un American and all of the chest thumpers and flag wavers. The US Congress has plenary powers but these tealicans don't care whether there's an empirical reason for the US Government to function......they don't want it to from the get go. How can anyone with a concept of sanity say anything bad about the path the President is taking? unlike Bush he's consulting the US Congress like he's supposed to do. Must I remind the tantrum throwers and people who make stuff up why things aren't working as they should because these tealican children refuse to stop saying no until their tantrums are rewarded. I hope they're never rewarded.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

The focus of the USA should be:

--- STOP GOP OBSTRUCTION OF NEW ECONOMIC GROWTH!!!!!

--- Removing right wing anti American GOP legislators from government.

--- Reining in the CIA and military spending.

--- Jobs jobs jobs and more jobs.

--- Medicare Single Payer which would create an estimated 2.4 million jobs.

--- Get the massive highway rehab underway.

--- Bring on cleaner energy. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/big_picture_solutions/climate-2030-blueprint.html

--- Replacing the anti american rt wing GOP with the Green Party.

--- Electing a whole lot of new democrats.

--- Funding education to the max = new business and new employment.

--- Break up the big banks.

--- Put the home loan criminals in jail!!!!!!

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

Some ideas and a pertinent question.

Why did the GOP Deliberately crash the USA economy? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/09/did-republicans-deliberately-crash-us-economy

Let’s use 10 easy ways to fund what we need to do. Fiscally responsible indeed. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/10-easy-ways-avoid-fiscal-cliff

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