By Tom Quiner
“I’m thinking we should do something.”
These were the sentiments expressed by a friend over coffee this morning. We were talking about the Syrian situation.
My friend was concerned about the victims of chemical weapons in Syria. Shouldn’t a great nation like the U.S. intercede in the name of humanity?
For the record, she is an ardent Obama supporter. These are interesting times, I’d say, even complicated times. A liberal president is agitating for war while conservatives balk.
What SHOULD the U.S. do?
Pope Francis, whom the world seems to hold in high regard, weighed in:
“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.
I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me.
How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed!
I think of many children [who] will not see the light of the future!
With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable!”
In subsequent remarks, the Holy See called on us not to “remain indifferent to the dramatic situation.” He called on the governments of the world “to do everything possible to assure humanitarian assistance.” But here’s the kicker: he said a “military solution” is a “futile pursuit.”
The American people seem to agree. Two fresh polls indicate that only 20% to 29% of the public back the president’s call for a military response in Syria.
Peggy Noonan parsed the American mood in her column in today’s Wall Street Journal. As usual, she nails what we’re thinking:
“Is Barack Obama a war president? On Syria he has done nothing to inspire confidence. Up to the moment of decision, and even past it, he has seemed ambivalent, confused, unaware of the implications of his words and stands. From the “red line” comment to the “shot across the bow,” from the White House leaks about the nature and limits of a planned strike to the president’s recent, desperate inclusion of Congress, he has seemed consistently over his head.”
She presents a damning image of the president, an image too many Americans have of our Commander in Chief:
“I have been thinking of the iconic image of American military leadership, Emanuel Leutze’s painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” There Washington stands, sturdy and resolute, looking toward the enemy on the opposite shore. If you imagine Mr. Obama in that moment he is turned, gesturing toward those in the back. “It’s not my fault we’re in this boat!” That’s what “I didn’t set a red line” and “My credibility is not at stake” sounded like.”
This is the image that bothers me. President Obama is a blamer, he’s not a leader. He makes excuses. I have no confidence in his ability, his judgement, his intentions in pursuing a military strike against Syria.
Let us hope the president heeds the words of wisdom from Pope Francis.
Let us hope he avoids the “futile pursuit of a military solution.”
I don’t want a man in over his head leading us into a new war.