Richard Cash, one of the primary challengers to the incumbent US Senator, Lindsey Graham, has some thoughts on the fiasco in Syria. Here’s a brief excerpt from his article on the 6th of September:
The civil war in Syria is a tragedy, filled with horrific atrocities on both sides of the fighting. The use of chemical weapons is the latest outrage, and some like Senator Graham argue that it compels a military response from the United States.
First, President Obama should be commended for seeking congressional approval instead of unilaterally initiating war with Syria. Although he originally said that he would not seek approval he changed his mind, perhaps because of public outcry that a unilateral decision would be both unconstitutional and unwise. However, his administration continues to claim that he does not need Congress’ approval to start this war, leaving open the possibility that the President might go forward even if a congressional war resolution fails. This reasoning is not only confusing, it is troubling. The American people should not be bullied by a President’s threats to go ahead without their support. In any war, national unity is of paramount importance. The war in Syria might be termed an “optional war”, and if the President starts such a war after the people of the United States have said “no” through their elected representatives, then national division will be the result. The President has rightfully asked for a vote; now he should abide by the will of the people expressed through the branch of government that is Constitutionally authorized to declare war.
Second, some people argue that a failed war resolution will destroy the credibility of the President and the United States, but this is a broad assertion that will not hold up under scrutiny. To start with, a vote of “no” on a war resolution in a optional situation like this does not in and of itself damage the office of the Presidency, unless you believe in a type of imperial Presidency, where the President in effect commands a king’s army. On the contrary, a “no” vote that impedes the wishes of the President demonstrates that Constitutional checks and balances are working as they are supposed to. Although President Obama’s prestige will be diminished, our system of government as a whole will be enhanced by actually following the Constitution. The argument that the credibility of the United States will be destroyed because the President did not follow through on his threat is also dubious. This confuses the President’s credibility with the country’s credibility, and although related, they are not the same thing. After Afghanistan and Iraq, does anyone really doubt that the United States has the ability to wage war effectively if it needs to?
The whole world knows that when Americans have the resolve, we will kick anybody’s ass, if we have to. See, WW2, the first Gulf War and Iraqi Freedom. These wars had serious implications for our national security…Syria and the screw up in Libya don’t/didn’t.
Lobbing ten million dollar missiles at ten dollar tents and killing a few camels isn’t going to boost Obama’s or America’s credibility.
he latest twist in the Syrian saga leaves one wondering what will happen next. First, President Obama set in motion plans for a limited strike to punish Bashar al-Assad. Senator Graham, never one to be left out of the spotlight, immediately attempted to up the ante to include regime change. Then President Obama announced he would seek Congressional approval for military action, a request that seemed likely to fail in the House of Representatives. On the eve of President Obama’s speech to sell the war, President Putin scrambled it all up by offering to broker a deal in which Syria surrenders its chemical weapons in exchange for a no strike pledge from the US. At this point, the chain of events has a somewhat surreal quality to it, a foreign policy fiasco of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
First, the good. It appears for the moment that the United States will not be initiating war with Syria. This is a good thing, given the lack of a compelling national interest, the absence of anything resembling a military strategy, and the unwillingness of the American people to get embroiled in a conflict with no endgame planning or easy exit. Despite the convoluted way that we have arrived at this point, it is a good thing to stay out of the Syrian civil war at this time.
Now for the bad. Recent events, set in motion by President Obama’s red line statement, have tarnished the image of the United States, and gutted this President’s credibility. Even to those who generally oppose President Obama’s domestic policies, this weakening of the overall position of America in the world is a bad outcome. It lends toward instability at home and abroad, and might lead our enemies to miscalculate American resolve when our vital national interests actually are at stake.
Finally, the ugly in all this. President Obama has been temporarily rescued from a political defeat over the war resolution, but at the expense of international humiliation by the Russians. To believe that Russia or the UN will ensure the disposal of al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile is to enter the world of make believe. Although I strenuously disagree with President Obama’s pursuit of a war resolution, nonetheless if he truly believed it was right then he should have sought the resolution and set the terms of disposal himself. The fact that he didn’t really believe in launching this war is all the more evident and the Russian checkmate is an ugly ending. Read more here.
Doesn’t Senator Graham realize that his constituents here in his home state of South Carolina, as well as the rest of America, don’t want this war or police action or whatever the Obama White House is going to call it?
It is time for Lindsey Graham to go. He has become a disgrace to our beloved state and the nation. Perhaps he should follow Arizona Senator John McCain’s lead and think about retirement. That way, he could spare himself the embarrassment of a loss in the upcoming SC primary elections. His aproval rating in the state has fallen below 50% and I foresee it falling even further into the toilet.