August 30, 2013
The sort of body language Obama should have for military strikes. (Jewel Samad/AFP Photo)
The sort of body language President Obama should have for Syrian policy. (Jewel Samad/AFP Photo)

The conventional wisdom is hardening that whatever action or inaction the United States takes in Syria will be thoroughly awful for everyone, and we can’t even tell what the most awful situation would be. If action is taken that makes no appreciable difference in the awfulness of the outcome, are action and inaction equivalent, meaning no action (which costs less) is better? Or is action better because the illusion of doing something has spiritual weight? Whoa! Also, we could all be in another galaxy dreaming our lives on Earth. Yes, theoretical situations in which nobody real dies are a lot more fun than actual policy for Syria. Sorry. PostScript will try to stay on topic, which is the existential despair of a superpower without much power at all.

Except, writes Charles Krauthammer, despair is precisely what we should not be feeling as we launch a military engagement or whatever it is we might actually do. We need a goal — Krauthammer suggests destroying the air power of the Syrian government — and we need to be sure that goal will be achieved and we’ll be better off when it’s over. And by “we,” Krauthammer and PostScript mean the president, Congress and certain relevant columnists.

President Obama’s public agonizing and making vague statements before we know what we’re going to do, Krauthammer argues, isn’t helping, nor is the despair.

But in the comments, well, we’ve got a lot of despair. And we’re not all agreed with Krauthammer’s goal:

hhcrum

Normally I agree with Charles Krauthammer.But in this instance I have to disagree and disagree strongly. The reason we need to respond is because the use of Chemical Weapons is a red line that no one should be allowed to cross, the US or any other nation should not be allowed the use of the weapons without a punishing response. I have no use for the current administration and think their foreign policy is a disaster, but the use of chemical weapons is beyond the pale.

Nor are we all agreed the United States is still a superpower:

JoeBiden

Odd that Obama can’t accept the diagnosis that America is in decline. Declining countries don’t jump on white steeds and slay dragons overseas, they stay home and carp (see Europe).

cyberdog thinks we could maybe get rid of Assad, not that that would help much:

Pick your battles. Who are the good guys in Syria? There is none. If you can do a surgical strike and get Assad, then go for it. But to escalate the middle east issue w/o any end goal than forget about it. Lobbing cruise missles at enigmas isn’t any solution.

slatt321 thinks Obama has one better option, at least domestically. Consult Congress:

Obama should get Congressional authorization. If he does, he has the representatives of the public behind him. If they reject it, he can take his finger off the trigger as he would clearly prefer to stay out of this. One way or the other, he must go to Congress for a vote.

drpolarbear thinks domestically, even that choice will also result in awful:

That would spread the blame a bit too. But Bush got Congress to support him but most blame him for the wars, not Congress.

Even with Congressional support, zeke27 isn’t down with military action:

It’s still a crime against humanity to wage war without provocation, red line or not. The chicken hawks are out in force condemning the president for not going to war and for threatening to go to war at the same time.
What does Congress say? Aren’t they responsible for our war waging activities? Oh yeah, too busy raising money to get re-elected and too busy plotting to take down the government.

Whew. We’re all back on firmer ground with America domestic squabbling in the back half of that comment. It’s a relief! So PostScript will leave with some more of that, to ease your existential despair this Labor Day weekend. Bask away.

71horton

The only thing that is certain is Obama’s ineptitude. He’s embarrassing and he is dangerous. I call for a recall.