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The foolish march to war in Syria

By Scott Tibbs, September 9, 2013

As Barack Obama continues to press his case for a foolish military strike against Syria, it is amusing to see some really bad arguments being used to advance the case. The most glaring is Obama's laughable denial that he set a "red line" regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, when he clearly said this thirteen months ago:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Does Obama really believe we are this stupid? Obama foolishly shot his mouth off last summer about what "he" would do if chemical weapons were used, despite the fact that the Constitution clearly gives the power to declare war to Congress, not the President. As much as he might like to believe otherwise, Obama is not a king and should not behave like one. It was a statement he had no business making.

Now that Syria has defied Obama, he feels personally insulted and wants to "punish" them for their actions. But the wounded pride of a man-child President is not enough reason to drag the country into war, especially when we clearly do not have a national security interest in "punishing" Bashir Assad for killing about 1,400 people with chemical weapons after he slaughtered tens of thousands with conventional weapons.

Obama wants a "limited" military strike to punish Assad, but as Kathleen Parker pointed out in her September 6 editorial, "waging a little bit of war is like being a little bit pregnant. History and human experience tell us that neither is possible." She underlines how illogical this argument is by making a further point: If another country fires some cruise missiles at military targets within the continental United States, would we consider it a "limited" strike or would we consider ourselves at war with that country?

I have little use for former KGB apparatchik Vladimir Putin, but he actually made a good point in his remarks about the situation in Syria and a potential U.S. military strike against Assad:

The use of force against a sovereign nation is only possible as self-defense -- and Syria hasn't attacked the United States -- and on approval of the U.N. Security Council. Those who do otherwise place themselves outside the law.

I do not buy the argument that the United Nations should have veto power over the use of U.S. military power, but Obama clearly believes that such strikes should be pre-approved by the "international community" - unless, of course, it is politically inconvenient for Obama. Even Great Britain, arguably our closest ally, has decided not to get involved in the Syrian civil war yet Obama is determined to march forward.

And as our President pushes the nation toward a foolish war without the support of the "international community," his defenders are casting the opponents of a war with Syria as "isolationists." This argument is an unserious as it is dishonest. A true isolationist wants to pull ourselves out of the world and exist within our own borders. In the global economy, this is not possible. There is a world of difference between an isolationist and a non-interventionist. Not wanting to be the world's police force does not make one an isolationist, and both Obama and his defenders know it.

The invasion of Iraq - which I believe was a mistake - was more justified than Obama's proposed military adventure in Syria on virtually every level: A clear national security interest, support from the "international community" and a broad coalition of allied nations willing to fight on our side. Now the man who was elected President with opposition to the Iraq war as a central theme of his campaign has become exactly was he was supposedly elected to oppose.

How's that hope & change workin' out for ya?