Excellent speech by President Obama on Syria, although I still would have liked to hear more about how much damage we need to do to the Assad regime in order to make clear that there’s a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons. Other than that, though, this was perfect. There’s absolutely no question that killing 1,000+ civilians – men, women, and hundreds of children – with chemical weapons is a violation of every moral and legal standard the world has established since World Wars I and II. If we let a regime get away with this, we have basically sent a message to every other regime in the world that they can pretty much do whatever they want – gas their people, develop nuclear weapons and/or biological agents, whatever. This needs to be completely unacceptable, or as a species, our days are seriously numbered.
I also love how President Obama said he’s happy to have this debate, and welcomes a Congressional vote on it. Of course, U.S. presidents since World War II have used military force dozens (hundreds?) of times without any authorization by Congress, and it’s not even clear constitutionally where the power to do so lies exactly, but in an ideal world, it would be great if Congress – our elected representatives – could play a responsible, serious role in committing this nation to use of force.
Now, the question is, can the bat**** crazy teahadist-“led” House of Representatives do ANYTHING responsible? I’m highly skeptical. Can Congress even get its sorry a***es back to Washington, DC, as the British Parliament was clearly able to do? It’s not like they don’t have enough other stuff to work on, like the federal budget and the debt ceiling, even without the Syria situation. So where are they, other than working something like 9 (count’em, NINE!) days after Labor Day and before the budget deadline. Rough life, huh? Anyway, I wouldn’t count on a serious, sober, sensible debate on Syria, or on anything else for that matter, as long as we have the Teapublican lunatics elected in 2010 continuing to run the House “asylum.” But it will be interesting to see, nonetheless, and possibly beneficial to expose these people yet again for the irresponsible, Obama Derangement Syndrome-suffering fools that they are.
UPDATE: See Sen. Kaine’s statement in the comments section. Also, I’d note that Rep. Scott Rigell just tweeted, “I applaud & respect President Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization.” And Rep. Gerry Connolly tweeted, “I call on Speaker Boehner to convene the House to debate and vote on Syria by Wednesday of next week.”