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Thread: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporval

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Appo

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Yank View Post
    You really cant miss the Hypocracy here with Obama & his supporters endlessly critisizing Bush for his misadventure in Iraq telling us that was a bad war while supporting there messiah Obomber who wants to get involved into something that could start WW3. We have a few hundred people gassed and they want to go to war while in countries like Sudan millions are slaughtered by the Religion of peace and you see no such level of outrage. Thats because the real reason for involvement here isnt people being gassed its of course Obombers war for oil or pipelines as his pals in Qatar, Turkey & Saudi want to build a gas pipeline to Europe thru Syria and Assads in the way. Obower & the people who run him could care less about gassed civilians, they waited for an excuse to get involved and this was it. What the heck the WMD line of bull worked just fine for Bush and the Neostatists. You Liberals should be proud you can now put Obama in the catagory with Warmongers Mcain, Graham & Peter King who never saw a war they didnt like or think we shouldnt get involved in.
    I'm almost inclined to agree with you except that there are two flaws in your rationale:

    1) There is (at least) visual evidence confirmed by several eye witnesses that chemical weapons were used.

    2) This time the people are speaking out against unilateral involvement including cautioning against a missile strike.

    While I will agree that it does seem as though this country tends to get involved in military conflicts everywhere else around the world except in African where so many humanitarian atrocities take place on continuous bases, the reason it appears that way, however, is because the media rarely covers such issues on a regular basis that is until it affects America's interest (i.e., Black Hawk Down). Nevertheless, I will admit that the rationale given to strike against Syria does mirror the excuses given for invading Iraq. This is why I'm very much against America's involvement beyond "leveling the playing field" - arm the rebels as Russia is arming the Syrian Army - only in this case it has to be done in multilaterally not unilaterally.
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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporv

    Quote Originally Posted by Montecresto View Post
    Wtf. Have you been paying attention to the debate, cause it sounds like you just woke up and joined the discussion!?!?
    Actually I have been paying very close attention to what has been happening.

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporv

    Quote Originally Posted by SBu View Post
    Something he could have done a week earlier if he was decisive and had conviction.
    A week earlier and they probably didn't have all the intelligence in yet.

    Doing so now makes him look confused and unsure of his decisions.
    I disagree completely, I think it makes him very aware of the minefield which is the Middle East and it's him getting his ducks in a row before engaging in an attack which could have many different outcomes as a result.

    He should be embarrassed, I'm embarrassed for him. Some believe this is just a way for the president to pass the ball to Congress to make a decision only to claim the moral high ground for political gain.
    It very well could be. It doesn't change the fact I think it's the right thing to do, as president of the country.

    He should not be embarrassed for consulting Congress for approval of a strike in a country which used chemical agents to murder over 1,000 people in the middle of a brutal civil war which has escalated into a regional war. That very sentence alone should suggest to you how difficult of a situation this is. I see no reason why he should be embarrassed for consulting Congress. Like I said, it's not like Obama was told he had to, he chose to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Montecresto View Post
    There is both precedent and law, what could you mean?
    I mean why should he be embarrassed over something his chose to do when he didn't really have to?

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Ap...

    Quote Originally Posted by stonewall50 View Post
    Is there anything wrong with feeling that we should just let them kill each other and not get involved?
    Sadly, I agree that we shouldn't get involved at all.

    I see this conflict as I do the Civil War. What would we think as Americans if another country launched a full attack on the Union for killing too many Confederate soldiers in a way they didn't themselves sanction for us?
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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Ap...

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyfox696 View Post
    He should not be embarrassed for consulting Congress for approval of a strike in a country which used chemical agents to murder over 1,000 people in the middle of a brutal civil war which has escalated into a regional war. That very sentence alone should suggest to you how difficult of a situation this is. I see no reason why he should be embarrassed for consulting Congress. Like I said, it's not like Obama was told he had to, he chose to.
    I mean why should he be embarrassed over something his chose to do when he didn't really have to?
    That Congressional authorization would give the President the kind of legitimacy that is only possible through such authorization is not up for question. The tactical approach was awkward, to say the least. The President had two major approaches that were possible with respect to the timing of his request for Congressional authorization and three major options overall if he wanted to pursue a military response:

    1. All but decide a course of action and then seek authorization (that's the approach that was chosen): The problem is that such a tactical approach would be seen as hesitation. In the wake of very real hesitation on Egypt, the risk was especially high that such a course would create unfavorable perceptions. It did. The Assad dictatorship has already portrayed the action as an "historic retreat" by the U.S. The anti-Assad movement, eager for the U.S. to take on the kind of risks it won't take on its own with respect to strategic Syrian military targets, has minimized the support the U.S. has been providing. Domestic ideological opponents have exploited the situation as yet another opportunity to try to score ideological points. There is real risk that the President's ability to argue that a military response is legitimate would be badly undercut if the Congress fails to approve the authorization (probably not the most likely scenario) or a strong minority of either House rejects authorization.

    2. Ask for authorization before deciding the final course: That would have required discipline to avoid the temptation "to do something" in the face of the chemical weapons attack. However, were the Congress to authorize a military response, one would not be dealing with the criticism currently being applied to the approach that was taken, much less the damaging perceptions that it created. Were Congress to refuse to authorize a military response, the President would not suffer the kind of PR setback as would happen were Congress to refuse his current request for authorization.

    3. Undertake military action as is the President's authority under the War Powers Act and then inform Congress: Some in Congress would make the perennial argument that the President overstepped his "constitutional authority." As has been the case with past limited military responses, such arguments would not carry the day.

    During a crisis, one needs a strong response. Commitments made are commitments that need to be acted upon. Ambiguity or uncertainy is not helpful.

    Given that the President all but decided on a military response--and walking back what was said does not change the reality--the second and third options were most viable. The approach that was taken has introduced a large sense of uncertainty and that uncertainty was swiftly exploited by all participants to the sectarian conflict, not to mention the President's domestic ideological foes. To outsiders, it has created perceptions of hesitation and weakness. Those perceptions were avoidable had the President pursued the second or third courses of action.

    Needless to say, I still believe the best course for the U.S. is to limit its commitments to those that are firmly anchored in its critical interests. That was not the case with Syria's sectarian conflict nor the "red line" that had been drawn (a narrower "red line" against large-scale use of chemical weapons, use against civilians, or large-scale use against civilians would likely have been more effective for purposes of deterrence, as the gap between the U.S. commitment and U.S. interests would have been narrower).

    Looking ahead, there is risk that a U.S. effort to "degrade" Syria's strategic military capabilities (an implicit commitment to facilitate regime change) will be met by greater assistance to Assad by Russia, Iran, and/or Hezbollah. If that happens, what will the next U.S. step be? Moreover, are Congress and the President willing to embrace a growing commitment and the costs it would entail? Would such an effort be worth it as no matter who wins the sectarian conflict does not appear to offer any meaningful prospect of adopting policies that would be more consistent with U.S. interests?

    Finally, Senator McCain's enthusiastic backing of the Free Syrian Army notwithstanding, the reality is that the opposition has never provided any concrete commitments to adopt policies more conducive to U.S. interests. At the same time, it has never committed to pursuing peace with Israel (a strategic U.S. ally). Domestically, it has never set forth a "constitution-in-waiting" or similar document that would entail inclusive, representative government. It has had more than two years to do so. In contrast, its actions in territory it has gained suggests an illiberal regime with a high probability of persecuting Syria's ethnic and religious minorities.
    Last edited by donsutherland1; 09-03-13 at 10:34 AM.

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporv

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyfox696 View Post
    A week earlier and they probably didn't have all the intelligence in yet.

    I disagree completely, I think it makes him very aware of the minefield which is the Middle East and it's him getting his ducks in a row before engaging in an attack which could have many different outcomes as a result.

    It very well could be. It doesn't change the fact I think it's the right thing to do, as president of the country.

    He should not be embarrassed for consulting Congress for approval of a strike in a country which used chemical agents to murder over 1,000 people in the middle of a brutal civil war which has escalated into a regional war. That very sentence alone should suggest to you how difficult of a situation this is. I see no reason why he should be embarrassed for consulting Congress. Like I said, it's not like Obama was told he had to, he chose to.
    I mean why should he be embarrassed over something his chose to do when he didn't really have to?
    But that's the whole point Sly, he DOES have to.

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporv

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    That Congressional authorization would give the President the kind of legitimacy that is only possible through such authorization is not up for question. The tactical approach was awkward, to say the least. The President had two major approaches that were possible with respect to the timing of his request for Congressional authorization and three major options overall if he wanted to pursue a military response:

    1. All but decide a course of action and then seek authorization (that's the approach that was chosen): The problem is that such a tactical approach would be seen as hesitation. In the wake of very real hesitation on Egypt, the risk was especially high that such a course would create unfavorable perceptions. It did. The Assad dictatorship has already portrayed the action as an "historic retreat" by the U.S.
    First of all, if you're choosing to take the rhetoric of Assad as having any significance, I'd suggest you stop and just think about that for a second. My guess is that many people who claim to be our enemies over the years have said similar things.

    The anti-Assad movement, eager for the U.S. to take on the kind of risks it won't take on its own with respect to strategic Syrian military targets, has minimized the support the U.S. has been providing. Domestic ideological opponents have exploited the situation as yet another opportunity to try to score ideological points. There is real risk that the President's ability to argue that a military response is legitimate would be badly undercut if the Congress fails to approve the authorization (probably not the most likely scenario) or a strong minority of either House rejects authorization.
    I still don't see where the embarrassment would be. This is the option he chose and regardless of how Congress acts, Obama would have no reason to be embarrassed. Might he be frustrated? Yes. Might he dislike the decision? Yes. But the fact of the matter is Syria intervention is an incredibly difficult decision, no matter what happens. There is no "right" answer and absent a clear "right" answer, it's hard to see why the President should be embarrassed by anything Congress decides.

    2. Ask for authorization before deciding the final course: That would have required discipline to avoid the temptation "to do something" in the face of the chemical weapons attack. However, were the Congress to authorize a military response, one would not be dealing with the criticism currently being applied to the approach that was taken, much less the damaging perceptions that it created. Were Congress to refuse to authorize a military response, the President would not suffer the kind of PR setback as would happen were Congress to refuse his current request for authorization.
    I'm sorry, I do not understand this thinking. I understand your position, I simply do not understand why it would be any different.

    3. Undertake military action as is the President's authority under the War Powers Act and then inform Congress: Some in Congress would make the perennial argument that the President overstepped his "constitutional authority." As has been the case with past limited military responses, such arguments would not carry the day.

    During a crisis, one needs a strong response. Commitments made are commitments that need to be acted upon. Ambiguity or uncertainy is not helpful.
    I disagree completely. During a crises, one does not need a "strong" response, one needs a careful, calculated and considered response. Simply choosing a course of action and sticking with it will lead to disaster more often than it will lead to success. It's not like we have missles hurdling towards the US right now, we don't HAVE to take an action five minutes ago. We SHOULD be discussing and deliberating, we should be making sure all of our intelligence is confirmed and we should be making sure we are committed to this action.

    Simply being a cowboy, as people accused Bush of being, turned out very poorly for this country, for Bush and for his political party. We should be taking caution with this situation in Syria because it is a very volatile and very unique situation.

    Given that the President all but decided on a military response--and walking back what was said does not change the reality--the second and third options were most viable. The approach that was taken has introduced a large sense of uncertainty and that uncertainty was swiftly exploited by all participants to the sectarian conflict, not to mention the President's domestic ideological foes. To outsiders, it has created perceptions of hesitation and weakness. Those perceptions were avoidable had the President pursued the second or third courses of action.
    People are far too worried about what they think others think other leaders think. Assad "exploited" it, but he's the man who just murdered 1400 people, something tells me his word doesn't carry much weight. The fact is I do not believe for a second other world leaders put nearly the weight into chest thumping as you seem to think they do.

    Looking ahead, there is risk that a U.S. effort to "degrade" Syria's strategic military capabilities (an implicit commitment to facilitate regime change) will be met by greater assistance to Assad by Russia, Iran, and/or Hezbollah. If that happens, what will the next U.S. step be? Moreover, are Congress and the President willing to embrace a growing commitment and the costs it would entail? Would such an effort be worth it as no matter who wins the sectarian conflict does not appear to offer any meaningful prospect of adopting policies that would be more consistent with U.S. interests?
    All great questions. Which is why it's good our President has decided to make sure our country has a voice in what we do, instead of unilaterally decided to attack.

    Finally, Senator McCain's enthusiastic backing of the Free Syrian Army notwithstanding, the reality is that the opposition has never provided any concrete commitments to adopt policies more conducive to U.S. interests. At the same time, it has never committed to pursuing peace with Israel (a strategic U.S. ally). Domestically, it has never set forth a "constitution-in-waiting" or similar document that would entail inclusive, representative government. It has had more than two years to do so. In contrast, its actions in territory it has gained suggests an illiberal regime with a high probability of persecuting Syria's ethnic and religious minorities.
    All true...which again shows the incredibly delicate and difficult situation which we have on our hands and why it's good our President has opted to make sure our country has their voice.

    I still don't see why he should be embarrassed because of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Montecresto View Post
    But that's the whole point Sly, he DOES have to.
    Realistically, no he does not.

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporv

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyfox696 View Post
    I still don't see why he should be embarrassed because of this.


    Realistically, no he does not.
    My point is not that the President should be "embarrassed" about going to Congress. I happen to believe that going to Congress gives the President the kind of legitimacy that no alternative course could.

    Instead, I believe the way he went about it was clumsy to say the least. It created perceptions that were avoidable. It created the impression that he is being whipsawed by events (e.g., the outcome of the Parliamentary vote in the UK) rather than shaping them. He could have gone to Congress first before all but committing to a military response. Had he stated from the onset something along the lines that the U.S. must respond to the crime against humanity that took place in Syria and therefore he is asking Congress for military authorization to maximize his flexibility, things would be different. Instead, he all but declared that the U.S. would be responding militarily and imminently then, in a follow-up address (after the UK Parliamentary vote) stated that he would ask Congress for authorization (taking away the imminence of the response and creating questions as to whether there would be a military response).

    In short, the strategy is right. No body can confer the kind of legitimacy the Congress could. However, the tactics were anything but optimal. They led to perceptions that were largely self-inflicted and entirely avoidable.

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporv

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    My point is not that the President should be "embarrassed" about going to Congress. I happen to believe that going to Congress gives the President the kind of legitimacy that no alternative course could.

    Instead, I believe the way he went about it was clumsy to say the least. It created perceptions that were avoidable. It created the impression that he is being whipsawed by events (e.g., the outcome of the Parliamentary vote in the UK) rather than shaping them. He could have gone to Congress first before all but committing to a military response. Had he stated from the onset something along the lines that the U.S. must respond to the crime against humanity that took place in Syria and therefore he is asking Congress for military authorization to maximize his flexibility, things would be different. Instead, he all but declared that the U.S. would be responding militarily and imminently then, in a follow-up address (after the UK Parliamentary vote) stated that he would ask Congress for authorization (taking away the imminence of the response and creating questions as to whether there would be a military response).

    In short, the strategy is right. No body can confer the kind of legitimacy the Congress could. However, the tactics were anything but optimal. They led to perceptions that were largely self-inflicted and entirely avoidable.

    I agree. And two world leaders came out swinging a week ago and in both cases calmer heads backed them down. And..........while the odds are highly against Putin getting involved militarily, only fools would dismiss the idea out of hand. That risk does exist however slight it may be. And we should act against the will of the American people, probably against the will of congress, certainly against the will of the UN and with a certain amount of risk that we could have conflict with Russia and all so that we can attack a country that HAS NOT ATTACKED US, and there's people on this board that call Ahmadinejad a lunatic, HA!!

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    Re: Obama: "US should take military action against Syria", seeks Congressional Apporv

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyfox696 View Post
    A week earlier and they probably didn't have all the intelligence in yet.

    I disagree completely, I think it makes him very aware of the minefield which is the Middle East and it's him getting his ducks in a row before engaging in an attack which could have many different outcomes as a result.

    It very well could be. It doesn't change the fact I think it's the right thing to do, as president of the country.

    He should not be embarrassed for consulting Congress for approval of a strike in a country which used chemical agents to murder over 1,000 people in the middle of a brutal civil war which has escalated into a regional war. That very sentence alone should suggest to you how difficult of a situation this is. I see no reason why he should be embarrassed for consulting Congress. Like I said, it's not like Obama was told he had to, he chose to.
    I mean why should he be embarrassed over something his chose to do when he didn't really have to?
    I think you and I are at an impasse. If you don't think what has been happening isn't embarrassing, then you either have an extremely high threshold for embarrassment or Obama can do no wrong in your eyes. You can have the last word, but I don't think we can come to an agreement.

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