Inconstancy hurt President Obama in shaping Syria strategy

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: September 12, 2013

The only laugh line in a serious speech was when Obama cited the moral rightness of not taking action against Syria without congressional approval. We could list any number of items on the Obama agenda that should have gone through Congress. But that would take too much space. The polished delivery of the speech and the gravity of its subject aside, this was a spin job to deflect from the fact that Obama doesn't want Congress to vote on Syria because he would likely lose the vote.

What message would that send? No worse than the one the administration has already sent by the Russian roulette fiasco. Said the Journal: “What could be worse for America's standing in the world than a Congress refusing to support a president's proposal for military action against a rogue regime that used WMD? Here's one idea: A U.S. president letting that rogue be rescued from military punishment by the country that has protected the rogue all along.”

In fairness to Obama, presidents shoulder an enormous burden. They will always be blamed for doing too little or doing too much. Just ask George W. Bush, whose bold and constant stances drew so much scorn from Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

If Syria gets a pass on the gassing and another more horrendous episode occurs, Obama can say he tried to prevent it but Congress wouldn't let him. But the administration's own incompetence and inconstancy will play a role that this president will likely never acknowledge.

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