Like most of you, I don’t know what the future holds for Syria or, more importantly, our relationship with her. That is bad enough, but the real problem is our elected “leaders” also probably don’t know what the future holds for our relationship with Syria.
Are we going to fire missiles at “selected targets” in a surgical strike, or are we going to let Russia broker a deal that gets rid of Syria’s chemical weapons? Are we maybe going to do both? I don’t know, but again the problem is those people we hire to know seem to be in the dark also.
Frankly, never in my lifetime have I seen such apparent incompetence at such high levels. First the president issues an ultimatum to Syria concerning chemical weapons. Then he decides to go to Congress for approval for his proposed attack on Syria because they crossed his magic “red line.” Next, according to some, an off-hand remark by Kerry brings about a possible Russian solution short of war. Now we learn Russia is demanding concessions from us in order that a deal be made with Syria. President Obama has asked Congress to delay a vote on the attack to “let diplomacy work.” As a side note, if I were in Obama’s shoes, I wouldn’t want a vote in Congress either. All indications are such a vote would be a total and complete defeat for him.
So, here we are, waiting for the next shoe to fall. Meanwhile Israel, Turkey and probably Jordan are bracing for a retaliation attack from either Syria or Iran. Hezbollah is primed and ready to attack Israel. They are just waiting for the go-ahead.
The question is how and why. How did we get ourselves into the mess? Why did it have to come to this?
To me it is clear. We have in charge an inexperienced commander-in-chief who is also unprepared to deal with the big issues on the world stage. This isn’t a grade-school playground. As the late congressman Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying, “This ain’t bean bag.” This is the real world. Ultimatums have consequences. When an American president says “or else,” he had better be prepared to follow through with the else.
Today he just looks silly. Today he looks impotent. If that weren’t bad enough, this makes America look silly and impotent too.
This issue continues to trouble me. To me, boots on the ground is the same as boots on board a ship or boots in the cockpit of a jet fighter or bomber. They are all boots that belong to somebody’s father or mother, to somebody’s son or daughter, husband or wife or just to somebody’s friend. They are the boots of American service people and while I understand those service people are ready, willing and able to answer any call made to protect this great country, maybe we should just think this thing through. Maybe we should be sure our country’s interests are really at stake and not just some politician’s embarrassment. Egg on the face of our president is no reason to kill potentially thousands of people or a single life of an American service person.