BREAKING NEWS: Nidal Hasan sentenced to death for the Fort Hood shootings.
The Water's Edge
I received dozens of responses from folks who felt strongly enough to let me know that they disagreed with my argument for action in Syria. I have no doubt that many more of you are ambivalent at best about our possible involvement in Syria.
I worry that the damage to America from not acting after a "red line" has been crossed will be substantial and will come back to haunt us. Columnist Charles Krauthammer was on the "O'Reilly Factor" last night and warned against similar weakness. Specifically, Krauthammer cited Bill Clinton's weak reaction to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
In response, Krauthammer said, Clinton "launched a few cruise missiles into empty tents in Afghanistan, and the message that Bin Laden got was America is the weak horse, America is unserious. Three years later we got 9/11." We are facing a similar danger today.
Good conservatives can disagree on this, and we do. What struck me in the responses I received overnight was how many of you cited Obama as the reason to do nothing.
You think he is duplicitous and weak (see next item). And given the number of "conspiracies" from the Benghazi cover-up to the IRS and NSA scandals, no small number of you feel even this situation in Syria could be some convoluted plot.
I hope nobody missed the fact that I made it clear Obama needed to go to Congress and make his case there, and not just to the U.N. Scores of members of Congress (82 so far and the list is growing fast) are demanding Obama seek congressional authorization.
As for the evidence, Israel has the best intelligence in the region and reports indicate Israel intercepted communications indicating the Assad regime carried out the attack. Obama should present that evidence and anything else he has got to the U.S. Congress.
Now let me raise a more troubling issue here. In the horrible aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush rallied the country for war. He struck the Taliban in Afghanistan and took out Saddam Hussein because intelligence indicated he was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, which we were never able to find. (There were credible reports that, if they existed, they might have been shipped to Syria. How ironic that their use there might be setting off this mess!)
I supported President Bush, as did the overwhelming majority of my readers then. We were shocked and mortified when people on the left denounced the response to 9/11, claiming it was a "manufactured crisis."
There were all kinds of bizarre charges: "This is the right-wing and the Israel lobby." "9/11 was an inside job." "It's all a plot to get control of Middle East oil." I was furious that Democrat leaders refused to condemn the feverish nonsense on the left.
We should be careful today that we are not doing the same thing -- reflexively alleging conspiracies when in fact the events in Syria are exactly what they appear to be. I am not suggesting that Obama is George W. Bush. He is not. I am arguing that conservatives should not mimic the left's behavior simply because Obama is wrong on so many other things.
But let's put Barack Obama aside for a moment. Here is a fundamental truth we cannot ignore: Every hour of every day the world is becoming more dangerous from the stand point of the U.S., Israel and our allies.
China is a rising military power.
War could breakout on the Korean peninsula on one miscalculation.
Our ally Japan is trying to quickly rearm as China routinely threatens it.
With the rising of the sun this morning, Iran is 24 hours closer to developing nuclear weapons.
Communism is dead in Russia. But it is led by a former KGB officer who seems to yearn for revenge from losing the Cold War.
Al Qaeda, far from being destroyed, has metastasized throughout the Middle East.
Polling suggests there are millions of Islamists living in Europe and America who believe it is okay to blow up civilian infidels.
If we are at the point, domestically in this country, where there will be an outcry from the left any time a conservative president has to engage one of these enemies, and opposition from the right any time a liberal president concludes he had better confront a particular threat, then the republic is greatly weakened and our enemies will certainly be emboldened.
Many of us yearn for the day that, when it comes to confronting our enemies, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, can put our differences aside and do what is best for America.
As the saying goes, "Politics ends at the water's edge." Or at least it should.
Obama Already Sending Wrong Signals
The use of weapons of mass destruction is hardly a trivial event. That such weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists remains one of our greatest fears. So the response from the United States and its allies should be one that cannot be misinterpreted by our enemies. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is already sending all the wrong signals.
Virtually every press report indicates that our response to Assad's use of chemical weapons is likely to be "brief and limited." The administration is letting it be known that we are not seeking a regime change.
So the message to Assad and Hezbollah essentially is that crossing a "red line" amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist. As Charles Krauthammer suggested, a brief and limited strike is little more than a "demonstration of unseriousness" that is unlikely to dissuade Assad or our enemies from using such weapons in the future.
How ironic that Mr. Obama began his presidency with his grandiose address in Cairo, Egypt, promising to reorient our foreign policy with the Muslim world. Now Cairo is in chaos and Mr. Obama is fretting about having to bomb another Muslim nation!
I wonder how Obama is dealing with this stress. Well, we don't have to speculate. His former personal assistant, Reggie Love, admitted during a recent interview that he and Obama played cards during the bin Laden raid. Love said, "[President Obama] was like, 'I'm not, I'm not going to be down there, I can't watch this entire thing.' We must have played 15 hands, 15 games of Spades."