I thought the president did a very good and succinct job of laying out why he feels we need to take military action in Syria, why he was putting it on hold, for now, and that he wasn’t backing off the option, as Russian Peacenik President Putin suggested earlier in the day. Obama’s speech was not of the high rhetorical flourish. It was Zane Grey-like direct, simple and understandable. He laid out his logic, explained why The Right and The Left should reconsider their positions, put, I think, moms and dads at ease that their sons and daughters were not marching into Syria.
It’s the approach many wish was taken before the Holocaust, before the Rwanda Genocide, and many other “let’s turn avert our eyes and that will go away” episodes in human history. (If you haven’t seen video of the results of the chemical warfare, here’s CNN’s report on I, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-WF6rcdI78. It brings some reality into the discussion.). I liked that the president repeatedly used the word “humanity” because there is no question as there has been in past situations military action would be about oil or some commodity. This is about the moral obligation we have to not turn our heads when innocent people – and no more innocent than children – are killed for no good reason and by their own leaders.
I know the country is war-weary, as am I. One day of war would weary me. But you can’t wait for an easing of war weariness to do the right thing. I hope that Putin and Assad are serious about Syria giving up their chemical weapons and destroying them. I have my doubts. I don’t believe that Assad sits back, after killing his own people, and worries about a few days of bombing by the United States. That would show he has compassion and cares about his people. He has clearly NOT demonstrated those attributes.
So, as I mentioned yesterday, the U.S., of course, has to pursue this diplomatic opening that’s magically occurred in the last couple of days. I hope it’s real and it resolves this situation. But, as the president said last night, we cannot
let our guard down.