Obama seeking political cover by asking for a Congressional vote on Syria intervention

Thomas Lifson
Contradicting his own position of a couple of days ago that a timely response to Syria's alleged chemical weapons use was important, President Obama today backed off and postponed any action until Congress reconvenes on September 9th, and has time to debate and vote on approving military action. At the same time, he maintains that he has the authority to act on his own (as he did in Libya).

Syria is already crowing about a victory, and it must be admitted that Obama has lost face throughout the Middle East and the world. As has the United States States of America, so long as he occupies the Oval Office. The influence, especially the deterrence the United States is able to exercise has been diminished. Obama's ill-considered red line has already cost the United States dearly.  If Assad, Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea draw the obvious conclusion that Obama is a paper tiger, then further consequences  could be far more unpleasant for not just the United States but the world.

Should Congress refuse to back action, then Obama will blame it, and the GOP, for undermining his ability to stop the chain of events that lies ahead, with America seen as the weak horse. His media flacks will join him in ignoring his responsibility for igniting the entire debacle and focusing attention on the opposition which once again bears all responsibility for Obama's sad performance in office.

Should Congress vote to authorize action, then Obama will hide behind their approval to immunize himself from responsibility for the actions ensuing from his ill-conceived ultimatum once he enforces it. With Russian naval forces at hand, and the mullahs itching for an excuse to act, the potential for escalation cannot be denied.

Meanwhile, there are other important political matters pending, in particular a debt ceiling fight, which apparently will have to wait. Crisis upon crisis seems to be ahead for us. Having seen Obama lurch from one position to another in a matter of days, overseas leaders now understand he is not a reliable counterpart. This opens the door for trouble to break out wherever in the world ruthless dictators, religious fanatics, and covetous nations see opportunity.

My suspicion (and fear) is that dangerous days lie ahead.

Contradicting his own position of a couple of days ago that a timely response to Syria's alleged chemical weapons use was important, President Obama today backed off and postponed any action until Congress reconvenes on September 9th, and has time to debate and vote on approving military action. At the same time, he maintains that he has the authority to act on his own (as he did in Libya).

Syria is already crowing about a victory, and it must be admitted that Obama has lost face throughout the Middle East and the world. As has the United States States of America, so long as he occupies the Oval Office. The influence, especially the deterrence the United States is able to exercise has been diminished. Obama's ill-considered red line has already cost the United States dearly.  If Assad, Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea draw the obvious conclusion that Obama is a paper tiger, then further consequences  could be far more unpleasant for not just the United States but the world.

Should Congress refuse to back action, then Obama will blame it, and the GOP, for undermining his ability to stop the chain of events that lies ahead, with America seen as the weak horse. His media flacks will join him in ignoring his responsibility for igniting the entire debacle and focusing attention on the opposition which once again bears all responsibility for Obama's sad performance in office.

Should Congress vote to authorize action, then Obama will hide behind their approval to immunize himself from responsibility for the actions ensuing from his ill-conceived ultimatum once he enforces it. With Russian naval forces at hand, and the mullahs itching for an excuse to act, the potential for escalation cannot be denied.

Meanwhile, there are other important political matters pending, in particular a debt ceiling fight, which apparently will have to wait. Crisis upon crisis seems to be ahead for us. Having seen Obama lurch from one position to another in a matter of days, overseas leaders now understand he is not a reliable counterpart. This opens the door for trouble to break out wherever in the world ruthless dictators, religious fanatics, and covetous nations see opportunity.

My suspicion (and fear) is that dangerous days lie ahead.