With Obama speech, America exhales over airstrikes it didn’t want

Lawmakers won’t have to vote anytime soon on a military strike in Syria.
MCT Regional News
Sep 11, 2013

Congress and the American people are exhaling Wednesday over Syria.

Lawmakers won’t have to vote anytime soon on a military strike, a vote few were eager to take. Their constituents, confused and skeptical about the Syria initiative, won’t see their sons and daughters sent on a murky mission.

The collective sigh of relief is the strongest signal yet that the nation may be entering a period of new isolationism, one where the public and its representatives have little taste for foreign conflicts.

President Barack Obama’s Tuesday-night speech did little to reverse the trend. He broke no new ground and offered no fresh logic. His tone vacillated between tough-talking commander-in-chief eager to teach a tyrant a stern lesson and the gentle leader ready to use diplomacy and reason to get out of a deep political mess.

Obama is struggling to adapt to this new skepticism over foreign involvement. He confronts a Congress unlikely to approve military action against Syria, and a nation overwhelmingly opposed.

He addressed a public, as well as the lawmakers, who were growing more wary and puzzled. Less than two weeks ago, Obama appeared ready to go into Syria. But on Aug. 31, sensing the public doubts, he asked Congress for approval. This week, as Congress returned from a summer recess and showed no enthusiasm for a strike, he pivoted again. Instead of a Tuesday speech once expected to launch a mission, the president turned lobbyist-in-chief.

He insisted his plan involved “modest effort and risk.” He patiently addressed widespread concerns about a broader conflict. His nod to working with Russia and the United Nations was a plea for time and understanding.

It’s what Congress wanted to hear. “The bottom line is we’re all going to try to work together. There is hope but not yet trust in what the Russians are doing,” said Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer of New York.

Obama still must adjust to this new, go-slow-and-maybe-don’t-go-at-all mood. Should he renew his effort to win support for a strike, he faces protests from the left and right that will not fade or be silent.

“I don’t have all the reasons why, but what I hear the most is that there’s no direct threat. There’s no upside. There’s no win. There’s no strategy. There’s no vision. There’s no trust. And the list goes on and on,” said Rep. Steve Palazzo, R-Miss.

Obama addressed the concerns of the left and right Tuesday night, and has bought more time to keep explaining. Congress is not expected to take any Syria votes or even debate the issue this week. Nor are leaders saying when, or even if, votes might occur.

After all, “a negative vote would make it less likely we’ll be able to get Russia and Syria to get rid of these weapons,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich.

The notion of a vote to authorize a military strike remains tempting, but its current value is more as a threat. “It is that prospect that has focused the minds of Russia and Syria,” said Levin.

Private talks among senators from both parties will continue Wednesday, aimed at some kind of legislation that would OK a strike but only after specific diplomatic steps have been exhausted.

Obama knows he’s in a difficult political position. When he met Tuesday with Senate Republicans before the address, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, noticed the president seemed different. He often appears more casual and confident, but this time, Heller said, Obama sat with his hands crossed. “I’ve never seen that,” Heller said.

Obama’s message, said Heller, was clear. “He said basically give him room,” the senator said. “That’s all he asked.”

———

By David Lightman - McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT)

©2013 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

Contango

A VERY bizarre speech:

Attempting to convince the American people (and the "world community") for taking an action which he says that he is going to delay.

Contango

Senator Menendez, Sept. 3:

“But I also think that not acting has huge consequences to the United States,”

“It sends a message to those very same countries — the ayatollah in Iran. … It sends a message to North Korea about our determination to stop them from continuing to make the Korean Peninsula a nuclear peninsula.

It sends a message to terrorist groups: Seek access to chemical weapons because the world will largely stand by when you use them.

I think those are ultimately national security questions we cannot have come to fruition as a result of inaction.”

So will a similar ultimatum of "hand 'em over or be attacked" be issued by Pres. Obama to Iran & N. Korea?

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/n...

In my opinon

This President is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. He made an excellent speech letting the American people know he understood their reluctance to him giving the order to strike Syria, but letting everyone including Syria know he will if need be. He has Taken out Bin Ladin, Hussain, and several others in the Al queda leaders, He has bought troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. When is he going to get the credit he deserves instead of constant criticism? How would people feel if a terrorist dropped gas on New York or Los Angelas and killed the innocent children? Someone would post why didn't he stop it when he had the chance. He can't win! Where has the heart of America gone?

Scranton Tibbs

The heart of America has gone down the proverbial crapper. Much like your spelling.

Dammed = damned
No = know
Reluctant's = reluctance
Hussain = Hussein
Alcida = Al queda
Los Angela's = Los Angeles

I get your point but let's just be honest here..you could really stand some grammar lessons.

ladydye_5

Thank you for the translation....a couple of those took me a minute to figure out.

all fact or all...

@ ScrantonTibbs...Hey so I am 77 and my eye site isn't so good and neither are my typing skills..But I am glad you got the point. You should see my texts on the cel phone if you think this is bad. I see some of the mistakes I make but at my age I don't have the time to go back and correct them.

Scranton Tibbs

@all fact or all... "at my age I don't have the time to go back and correct them." Now THAT is good stuff, you get a pass :o)

Contango

Re: "He can't win!"

Cry me a river.

He won the presidency twice and the useful idiots were dumb enough to vote him.

all fact or all...

Useful idiots were majority of America.

somescrewyname

I will give obama credit when he admits he is a nincompoop, and steps down out of the office of the presidency because he understands he is incompetent to do the job.

all fact or all...

Did you ask the nincompoop who started all this to step down? Doubt it!

Contango

Re: "nincompoop who started all this to step down?"

Pres. Woodrow Wilson and the Brits and the French who "started all this" are LONG DEAD.

The history of the Middle East just didn't begin in the yr. 2001.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : "Pres. Woodrow Wilson and the Brits and the French who "started all this" are LONG DEAD.

The history of the Middle East just didn't begin in the yr.2001"


How true. Not only did the " Middle East " start in the " Middle ages " The arrogance of the " Versailles treaty " you refer too obviously, led directly to W.W. 2 as we all know.


It also led a young Vietnamese student in Paris at the time, too beg the winning powers to give up control of his country.


Failing to win support for the end of colonialism in his country. Ho Chi Minh left Paris for Moscow to study communism. Does' any American need to be reminded how that arrogance turned out ?

So lets remember treaty's and threats seldom work. Then realize, we all inhabit the same planet and as such should respect, not bomb those who are different than us.


Having said that. History says that no matter the viewpoint one supports. " Peace " has as much chance of happening in the hearts of man, as do the Browns of winning the Super bowl.

Contango

Re: "'Peace' has as much chance of happening in the hearts of man,'

“History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” ― Mark Twain.

Technology changes, human nature not-so-much.

The 20th Century was the bloodiest in History, with an estimated 100 million killed. I'd be surprised if our species didn't top it in the 21st.

As is said: The meek will inherit the Earth when the aggressive people have killed each other off.

In my opinon

Ha, Ha you made some good points and an old man laugh with the Brown's winning super bowl.

all fact or all...

Your searching for what..We are their because of BUSH and CHANEY. And they didn't get rid if Bin Laden, and yes war in always going to happen because of dictators. But to go back to Wilson is a little far fetched. I bet know one called him a bimbo, nincompoop, idiot, monkey etc like people on this blog have..

Contango

Re: "We are their (sp) because of BUSH and CHANEY."

Better AT LEAST go back to 1979 & Jimmy Carter who first began arming the Mujahideen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ope...

Pres. Wilson? He got the U.S. involved in WW1 and upset the balance of power.

Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, et. al. were all part of the Ottoman Empire.

Trust me; I have a degree in History.

Cliff Cannon

@ all fact or all... What President Wilson was called normally was " Peck's bad boy " because of his affair with a Mrs. Peck, that helped hasten the first Mrs. Wilson's death.


Of course, Wilson who had to wait 46 ballots to get the Democratic nomination in 1912, was obviously not that popular with his own party. So one can only imagine all the names he was called.


I'll add one----Big time racist. Even for his day this son of the south, was notoriously racist. Of course, he illegally also let 2nd. wife Edith run the presidency after his stroke incapacitated him . This further infuriated his political enemy's so much, that it helped doom the " League of Nations " which may have helped avert W.W.2 .


So Wilson, like all politician's went by a lot of disparaging names. Heck I'll even bet " bimbo, nincompoop, idiot, monkey etc " might be considered mild by him.


Check out these changes from his time and see then if " to go back to Wilson is a little far fetched."


Federal Reserve as well as Federal income tax start under Wilson.


W.W. 1 is fought for about 1 reason---- Control of the various Empires then ran by the warring country's.


During the war, to silence their eastern front. The Germans, aid (Bring about ? ) the Russian revolution that brings Lenin & the communists to power. Since then the Soviet Union/ Russians have caused---- how much mischief ?


War loser Turkey's " Ottoman Empire " located primarily in the " Middle East " is dissolved with British & French carving up it up for themselves. This leaves Turkey impoverished, worse it takes Turkey's calming influence from the " Middle East " leaving in essence, pretty much what you see today.


A Vietnamese student named Ho Chi Minh studying in Paris try's desperately to get his country free from colonial bondage. Told to take a hike. He does to Moscow to become a dedicated communist. Determined to drive the French from Vietnam. ( Do you remember how that turned out ? )


The Germans lose their African empire, as well many parts of Germany. One loss in particular ticks them off royal. The 'Sudeten ' Germans are given to Czechoslovakia. ( See W.W.2 " appeasement " & The " Munich pact " to see how that turned out )


The Germans are ordered to pay 32 billion in war reparations. ( By coincidence the same amount it cost the U.S. to fight it) They pay nothing. Still the harshness of the Versailles treaty combined with " Dolschstabend " sp. ( The stab in the back )that the army felt leads directly to W.W.2

The Austro/Hungary empire is carved to pieces creating many splintered states unable to govern themselves, while leaving enough bitterness, that most in these country's happily ,eagerly even, join Hitler some 20 years later.


I apologize for length as well for leaving out, no doubt many critical things. I'll even admit that historical inevitability would've brought some of these changes. However, this remains: Few times in American/world history, have so many events, that caused so much future havoc, been sent to future generation's by one presidency like Wilson's time did.


So it is not at all 'far fetched ' to attempt learn the lessons from that time. After all how could mankind grow, with out studying the mistakes of the past ?

arnmcrmn

In my opinion......first off you need to know the history of Syria to understand that what Obama wants to do will do nothing to change Syria, its leadership or its people and their way of life.

Assad (Syria's) leader has been on the record books for torturing and killing hundreds of thousands of Syrian's long before Obama had the notion to wage war. A few thousand were supposedly killed using chemicals/chemical weapons and he wants to now wage war. What about the majority of the other inhumane killings? Not important enough?

Credit for Obama? For what. The guy gets a nobel peace price that obviously was a huge joke. To give credit for something, you actual have to do something worthy that makes sense.

Obamas plan to drop billions in bombs will do nothing but fire up that region. If you want to change Syria, plan on another multiple trillion dollar war that will span anywhere from 10-15 years. Is that what you want? I know I and the majority of Americans do not want that.

all fact or all...

Nothing the previous administration did fixed it either, Can't win a war on religion but let them fight each other with conventional weapons not gases. You and cantango should go to washington and fix this mess!

Contango

Re: "let them fight each other with conventional weapons not gases."

So it's better to just blow up innocent men, women and children with conventional weapons rather than other means?

Answer my previously asked questions:

So we shouldn't have used our WMD on Japan in order to help end WW2?

Why does the U.S. have chemical and biological weapons if we aren't ever goin' to use them?

Howdydoody

We are all intitled to our opinions, it shouldn't turn into an arguing match. I agree with ALL FACT he was not going to bomb cities just the chemical making plants. As far as Japan we struck back at a country that declared war on us, we did not bomb or gas our own civilians. All you people should be more concerned about the "Do nothing congress" we have. These people need to be voted out of office so something can get done to get our economy back on track. I would vote for anyone of you if you could do that.

Contango

Re: "he was not going to bomb cities just the chemical making plants."

News flash: Syria is moving their chemical weapons.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/...

Pres. Obama is a foreign policy incompetent and unfortunately for the U.S. Pres. Putin smoked his *ss.

Mr. Obama should go back to what he does best - campaigning.

all fact or all...

@ arnmcrumn..He was going to drop bombs on the chemical making plants to let them know we won't tolerate chemical weapons, not WAGE WAR. Supposedly killed? Do you believe the Holocaust ever happened or was it a supposedly? Chemical weapons kill the innocent.
The 1925 Geneva protocol first prohibited the use of poisonous gas as a weapon of war. The primary idea is that they are indiscriminate and a great threat to civilian populations. My father was gassed in the Argon Forest in France during WW 1 and when he passed we found the gas mask he was issued and you could still smell the Mustard Gas in the filter. If it isn't stopped somewhere it will end up here in our country and I hope it doesn't effect any of your family.
My father said hundreds of the gas shells were dropped during that battle. I often wonder if half these statements on here would be different if you lived in one of those countries, and lived like those people live. I thank God everyday that I live in America. But I was raised to respect the President of the United States, elders, myself, my neighbors, help people in need and believe in God. This was taught to me by my parents. Not hate, discrimination, and disrespect.

Contango

Re "not WAGE WAR."

So you punch someone in the nose and then tell 'em that you don't wanna fight?

Pres. Obama is a foreign policy lightweight in the world and regrettably for the U.S. Pres. Putin smoked his *ss.

So we shouldn't have used our WMD on Japan in order to help end WW2?

Why does the U.S. have chemical and biological weapons if we aren't ever goin' to use them?

arnmcrmn

Where in my comment is there hate, discrimination or disrespect. I don't agree with most of anything this man has done based on common sense and morals and values. Here comes the typical race/hate card the moment you don't agree with this president. Typical liberal at it best. You people really know how to bring the best out in people.

In my opinon

I didn't see where anyone accused you personally, you shouldn't take it as such. It's a forum for people to give their opinions.

Cliff Cannon

@all fact or all...: " My father was gassed in the Argon Forest in France during WW 1 " I am very sorry to hear that as well as I totally agree with you here : "I thank God everyday that I live in America "


Inspite of my long winded reply earlier. What I truly think happened in W.W.1. Is that the warring powers had no clue at the start of the war. Just how much power of destruction they possessed.


Obviously, those leaders in the warring country's had grown up on 'men of honor' dueling with swords or having cavalry charges or laying siege till the other guys capital surrendered, like a 'gentleman' should when beaten.


The water cooled machine gun, the horrific gases your father endured, the airplane, artillery with trebled explosiveness' and that great British invention---the tank.


All combined in " the war to end all wars " to leave some 10 million dead. Then the worst nightmare and the ugliest fact of war reared it's ugly head. That is the only thing to come from 'war' is more 'war'


P.S. Thank-you for sharing your fathers story and may I add he raised a fine son

Contango

Re: "W.W.1."

U.S. involvement saw the loss of liberty,such as the jailing of political opponents like Socialist Party member Eugene Debs and others who spoke out against the war.

It was also the death of the Syndicalist movement in Europe.

George Sorel and others did not believe that working men and woman in their respective countries would take up arms against each other for the sake of their corporate bosses.

Unfortunately, nationalism won out over union fraternity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syn...

Lastly, the "Zimmermann Telegram" may have been real, but Mexico was in no shape to invade the U.S. It was essentially a "false flag."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zim...

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: Funny thing about Socialist Presidential candidate Eugene Debs is that even after being sent to jail, he still polled millions of votes in the 1920 Pres. race.( Of course, W.W.1 also pretty much ended the Socialist movement here in America.)


As to the " Zimmerman Telegram " the fact that British intelligence held it for ' the right moment ' will always leave a bit of a cloud about it,won't it ? Still with us fighting in Mexico ( Didn't George Patton claim to have shot Pancho Villa ?) it did have an air of credibility.


Of course, the 'Peter principle' also lent credibility to it. As a German consulate in N.Y.C. left a brief case filled plans for setting up a German spy ring in America on a subway train there. ( Thank God for incompetents, sometimes)


Still for all our thoughts on the effect of W.W. 1. The REAL issue in the Middle East remains Islam. Obviously, started by Muhammad he is the only person in history I know of who was a military leader, a political leader and who's writing's started his own religion.


And of course,like all writers his character shows through. Since Muhammad was chased by his enemy's out of Mecca to live Medina. Revenge became a major factor in his life,so revenge in turn became a driving force in his writings, as well as in his now unified followers.


Perhaps, the most interesting of his followers is Umar ibn al-Khattab, who rightly is considered a Muslim equivalent to Christianity's Paul. Under al-Khattab, Muslim army's took over much of the known world and to this day have not quit trying to finish the job. ( My source is an awesome book " A ranking of the 100 most influential persons in history" )


Bottom line: Anyone can blame whomever they want for the Middle East quagmire. Further, we can look to any period of history for people who tried to 'fix' the problem. Yet, the " problem " will never go away, will it ? For it is based in religion and as the cliché states; " Man will fight for 'God', die for God, do anything really, except.....live a peaceful, loving, caring, sharing,compassionate life for 'God'

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