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Last night, President Obama delivered an address to the nation. While I may be in the minority, I found the speech to be coherent and clear. It addressed what the President believes will happen if we don’t act and why he is for using force in Syria.
For the first time, the President articulated threats against the United States. The President claims that if we allow Syria to get away with the use of chemical weapons, then other rogue nations will use those weapons and one day American soldiers could face that threat on the battlefield. He also fears that this could lead to a greater expansion of the manufacturing of chemical weapons and more easily fall into terrorist hands.
While the President put forth a fair conjecture of what might happen in the future, his cause and effect analysis lacked the necessary nexus necessary to tie these two occurrences together. For example, America’s failure to bomb chemical weapon sites will not directly cause rogue nations to build chemical weapons that will then be given to “terrorists” and smuggled into the United States and detonated.
The President also made a legitimate humanitarian argument for the children. Saran gas attacks on children and civilians is unacceptable. And we in the United States should not accept it as a legitimate warfare tactic. However, there are many humanitarian crises all over the world, especially in Africa where nations such as Uganda have to deal with the threat of Joseph Kony abducting or killing children every day. Recent statistics put his numbers in the tens of thousands.
The point is that there are many threats around the world, and no matter how tragic, the American government is responsible for the protection of the American people and should stay focused on that goal. There are serious Russian and Chinese threats rising to American interests. We cannot continue to squander resources in the Middle East.
Likewise, the President’s strategy for a peace process looked correspondingly weak as he allowed the Russians to usurp the power of diplomacy that used to be controlled by the U.S. Working with Russia to secure Syrian weapons is a nightmare in the making that will never be verified.
In the end, the President gave the best speech he could with the material he was given. But it is not enough to go to war.