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Syrian two-step

"Syrian two-step" Continued...

Obama’s speech Tuesday night continued the theme used by Kerry’s State Department of arguing both sides of the issue. Obama said he has resisted military action “because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force.” But then he explained that, if America failed to act, “the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons.”

The president argued he doesn’t “think we should remove another dictator with force.” Then later suggested, “neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise.”

Obama said, “America is not the world’s policeman.” Then he added, “I believe we should act.” At the same time, he asked leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize that action.

At the end of the president’s speech, many lawmakers remained skeptical.

“The national security interest necessary to justify this intervention has not yet been sufficiently shown,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, D- Idaho. “And the limited, narrow response being proposed is more likely to harm, rather than protect our security interests.”

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, said many questions remain, such as: What assurances are there that Syria’s chemical weapons will be secured, other than trusting Assad, Putin, and the United Nations? Stockman also wondered if the strikes would assist anti-Assad militants who, according to Stockman, are attacking Christian churches, burning Christian villages, and killing Syrian Christians.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill who took public stances in favor of Obama’s strikes, despite opposition from many Republican rank-and-file lawmakers, are likely left wondering whether they will face any fallout.

Both House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who back the strikes, appeared frustrated early Tuesday about what they called Obama’s inability to win over the American people when it comes to Syria.

“He has not made the sale to the American people,” Boehner said. Cantor offered similar sentiments.

It appears that Boehner, Cantor, and other lawmakers will be glad to take up Obama’s request for a vote postponement. And they likely hope the vote never comes up.

Listen to an analysis of President Obamas speech by Cal Thomas on The World and Everything in It:

Listen to Mindy Belz discuss what could happen next on The World and Everything in It:

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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