Is there anybody in the Mideast we haven't bombed in recent memory?
That alone may explain some of the problems we're having with foreign policy in the area.
But this week, the president is pushing hard to get Congress to authorize some limited use of force to punish the Assad regime in Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people.
The U.S. isn't the only one making that claim. In fact, about the only people who are claiming there isn't enough proof are those with strongly vested interests in maintaining the Assad government.
Things were going along fine, all the little dance steps were being made leading up to another demonstration of U.S. technical prowess and military capability on what has to be another one of the genuine bad guys in the world.
Then, Prime Minister David Cameron of Great Britain stubbed his toe. Parliament said no to the Brits taking part in any reprisals from the West. That pretty much left us with the French on our side (among major European powers), and the last time they were a useful ally was in the late 1700s. The Germans have managed to develop a pretty strong anti-war ethic when it comes to committing their quality army to combat (probably due to being bombed out of existence in WWII and then facing a Soviet threat for the next 40 years).
So, suddenly the less than decisive Obama decided he needed Congress's approval before moving forward to do the right thing. It's called sharing the blame. Frankly, most presidents have ignored the War Powers Act since it was passed. Obama is almost setting a precedent here (one he hasn't used before) that the act actually has meaning.
And it's turning into a fascinating political battle. First, you have the gun-toting Tea Party members lining up in the isolationist position. They really don't want any more "foreign entanglements" and they know that every cruise missile we fire costs a million dollars.
Second, you've got the Republican hawks who've been screaming for Obama to take action on Syria for months but now suddenly have to take responsibility for it as well -- and some are less comfortable with that. Plus they just can't bring themselves to give Obama a victory over anything. Boehner has no hope of building a consensus in his own party.
Neither does Harry Reid. He's got the traditional Democratic doves to whom any war is wrong (some are, some aren't) and then he's got the Democrats who'll give Obama anything he'll ask for but are horribly uncomfortable finding themselves in the same bed with the GOP hawks.
In the end, we think Obama will get what he wants -- the chance to hurt Assad and maybe Iran's Hezbollah allies that are fighting with Assad, and the chance to show the world the U.S. really is a beacon for what is right (backed by our bombs, of course). But it will come with strings attached -- no boots on the ground and probably no planes over the Syrian skies, either. Congress will demand morality without risk and Obama will bless them for it.
The pawns will remain the innocent victims of this civil war and the rebels will get a small boost.
But it's a long way from a plan that will end the killing.
-- Kelly Everitt