Sully goes full-bore firebagger in a post last night entitled, “Obama’s Betrayal on Syria.” Even if you hold the (understandable) position that Sullivan is best ignored, you can use the rhetoric below as a stand-in for what many others are saying, including plenty of folks in the comments section from my post last night:
You voted twice for Obama? You’re getting the policies of McCain and the Clintons, the candidates he defeated. I wish I could understand this – but, of course, my worry is that the pincer movement of Rice and Power is already pushing us into a war we do not need, and cannot win.
This is worse than a mistake. It’s a betrayal – delivered casually. Maybe he thinks his supporters will treat this declaration of war just as casually. In which case, he’s in for a big surprise.
Okay, can we just take a step back from the ledge here? I agree that putting US blood and treasure on the line in a sectarian conflict being waged largely by religious fanatics would be a huge mistake. Is that what Obama is contemplating? Here’s the statement from the White House that was issued last night:
Following on the credible evidence that the regime has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people, the President has augmented the provision of non-lethal assistance to the civilian opposition, and also authorized the expansion of our assistance to the Supreme Military Council (SMC), and we will be consulting with Congress on these matters in the coming weeks. This effort is aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the SMC, and helping to coordinate the provision of assistance by the United States and other partners and allies. Put simply, the Assad regime should know that its actions have led us to increase the scope and scale of assistance that we provide to the opposition, including direct support to the SMC. These efforts will increase going forward.
The United States and the international community have a number of other legal, financial, diplomatic, and military responses available. We are prepared for all contingencies, and we will make decisions on our own timeline. Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity.
That’s a far cry from “a smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud.” I’m willing to be persuaded that Obama is worse than Bush and has betrayed us, but I’m just not seeing any evidence of that yet.