Obama Invites Congress To Hold Hands and Jump

Nobody wants this to happen, but it probably will.

The entire policy of the Obama Administration toward the Syria mess is if we wait and keep looking the other way, somebody else will fix this problem.

Nobody has.

This is not simply Obama’s fault, but repeatedly drawing lines and daring Assad to step over them and doing nothing when he does has only emboldened him to unleash chemical weapons against his own citizens.

There is no taste for the United States to get into yet another war in the Middle East. Been there, done that and got the flag-draped coffins and maimed soldiers to prove it.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad‘s decision to use chemical weapons on over a thousand of his citizens finally has forced Obama to move from talking tough to threatening to launch missile strikes against the dictator.

The United Nations, Congress, no public outcry for intervention and other factors have served to make the president’s response confusing, vacillating, ineffective and at times enabling Assad to commit steadily escalating atrocities (though the rebels have been accused of their share of war crimes as well). But the buck still stops at the desk of the man in the Oval Office and now that Assad has made it apparent he is not only willing to step over Obama’s “lines”, he will do so with arrogant impunity, it is up to the president to deliver a clear, strong and unambiguous response.

The President is doing the politically smart move, and that’s inviting Congress to climb in the barrel and go over the edge with him. There hasn’t been a Congressional declaration of war since WWII. They’ll authorize retaliatory strikes or “military action” but presidents have had a lot of leeway to pretty much go ahead and drop bombs on anyone that pisses them off.

Obama’s Saddam?

Congress doesn’t return from vacation until September 9 and a lot can change between now and then. I don’t think Obama really wants to intercede in the Syrian civil war, but the chemical attacks on his own people by Assad puts him in the same category as Saddam Hussein gassing the Kurds. For the U.S. to sit back and do nothing will only show Assad he can do anything he wants to cling to power and he will act accordingly.

Whatever move Obama makes he’s going to get blasted for. The U.S. public doesn’t want us messing around in yet another Middle East shithole, but the warhawks like John McCain are going to keep going on Meet the Press and calling Obama a punk for talking tough and doing nothing. IF Obama chooses to sit this out without even making a token gesture of disapproval, that only emboldens Syria and shows Russia and China, two of Assad’s allies that the U.S. won’t walk it like they talk it.

Whatever the outcome, if you drive a car, you might not want to wait before filing up. Prices are gonna be going up, up , UP.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, probably the most liberal member of the upper chamber recognized the gravity of the situation the President is presenting to Congress. “The use of chemical weapons by the Assad dictatorship is inhumane and a violation of international law. However, at this point in time, I need to hear more from the president as to why he believes it is in the best interests of the United States to intervene in Syria’s bloody and complicated civil war. I look forward to the Senate debate that will be taking place in the very near future.”

It’s a smart play. Get Congress on the record for bombing Syria (there will be no ground troops–bet on that) or if these towers of jell-o, hem and haw and dither and dick around, Obama can still say, “Hey, I consulted Congress. Not my fault if they can’t come to a decision.”

More importantly, it buys TIME and time works in the favor of the president in this case. With the exception of McCain and a few other bloodthirsty war-mongers, there’s no taste for repeating in Syria the mistakes the Bush Administration made in Iraq. The U.S. needs to stay out of the world cop beat, but Assad killing a thousand of his own people with chemical weapons and getting away with mass murder is only inviting future atrocities.

Doing something may not deter Assad from further atrocities.   Doing nothing guarantees there will be more of them.   But whatever decision is made, we’ve all had enough of allowing Grandpa McCain’s tantrums to set this country’s foreign policy.

Obama could go it alone, but he wants Congress to co-sign.