In 2013, Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people. President Obama had to figure out what to do with Syria. He could have bombed Syria. He could have tried to do some sort of joint military action with western allies. There was lots of hand wringing as there should have been. We are talking about life and death. Instead of making a decision to bomb Syria, Obama threw the decision to Congress which did not give him authorization to strike Syria. I’m not sure that he was all that whipped up to strike Syria. So, he turned to Russia who helped (Russian help is kind of an oxymoron) broker a deal for Syria to destroy all of their chemical weapons. Well, we know that this “deal” wasn’t what anyone would have hoped since al-Assad just gassed his own people again. It is completely unclear if al-Assad has more chemical weapons. We have to assume that he has.
Many Americans have applauded Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria. I’m not so sure. I think that Donald Trump did the only option that was open to him. He can’t make another deal. That’s out. There is no coalition of “the willing.” No one wants to invade Syria. So that’s out. What’s left? Bomb them. That’s the only other option.
I just don’t know how bombing Syria will help the problem. As far as we know there were no significant military leaders killed. I think that we know we did not kill or even injure al-Assad. So I’m not sure that we have changed any behavior.
Last night, President Barack Obama presented his case against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad. In my opinion, the case is pretty clear. The Syrian government used chemical weapons against their own people. Then, to cover up their atrocities, they then shelled those exact same neighborhoods for three days straight. Then, they let UN weapons inspectors to come in with the hope that they would find nothing. Or at least, they would find nothing conclusive. The one thing that this whole ordeal has clearly shown us is the dysfunction of the Republican Party. On one hand, there are some of the Republican Party that have been yelling, as loudly as they possibly could, that a limited, targeted, surgical strike was not enough. We needed more. (Invade Syria?) Then, there are those who wanted immediate airstrikes. They didn’t even want President Obama to ask Congress for anything. They stated, clearly, that Obama had the authority and he was scared to use it. Finally, you had a group of Republicans who are calling Obama a warmonger. In my opinion, all of these extremes simply miss the point. I think the idea of Syria giving up their chemical weapons is a good one. Unfortunately, the implementation of actually getting them to give up their chemical weapons is going to be extremely difficult. For a second, it seemed that Russia was going to play a constructive role in the peaceful turnover of Syrian chemical weapons to the international community. Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to squash all that. The Russian president took to the New York Times. Not only is he falsely suggesting that the United Nations was founded so that we can start war only by consensus. That’s garbage. The United Nations was started to give Russia and the United States cover if they needed it. He even suggested that the rebels may have unleashed the chemical weapons. If, President Al Assad does not comply, we need to unleash the cruise missiles.
Once again, we have overwhelming data that this austerity program that has been shoved down our throats, doesn’t work. The fact that the economy is in a funk right now, is evidence that austerity doesn’t work. We should not believe that further cutbacks would’ve been helpful. This is exactly what happened in England. They are in a terrible funk from an economic standpoint. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, austerity doesn’t work. Continue reading News Roundup – Syria, Austerity, Immigration Reform
Transcript of speech:
My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria — why it matters, and where we go from here.
Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits — a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war. Continue reading Obama on Syria