Never has a President given a speech in which he wished to convince Americans to take an action he no longer is going to take. He has become to war what the Clapper is to turning on the lights. War is on and now war is off. But we will never call it war.
The President told Americans they need to do this for the children. It is ironic, considering he has, for a long time, been in favor of infanticide. But do it for the children we must. Except when we mustn’t. Because we are not the world’s policeman, he would have us know.
We cannot be everywhere.
But we can be in Syria.
Because of the children.
Just like in Darfur, Rwanda, and North Korea, except not really because we will not intervene in those places. The difference is that in Syria, Sudan, Rwanda, and North Korea, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people have been killed with conventional weapons. But an additional thousand were killed in Syria by chemical weapons.
More if you count the ones killed by the rebels and their chemical weapons, but let’s not focus on those.
When I was on city council, one of my fellow councilmen would often drone on that we needed to fund some garbage for the children. “Do it for the children,” he ‘d breathe into the microphone. I finally got so fed up one night I responded, “Doing it for the children is the last refuge of failure in politics.” When we are doing things “for the children” as opposed to any other reason, we have no substantive reason for taking an action.
The President himself failed to convey a real substantive reason for acting. He claims chemical weapons might be used on our soldiers. That’s what George W. Bush once claimed. They still could even if we act. There was no rational reason put forward in a muddled speech that was, ultimately, the war equivalent of the muddied and muddled BP oil spill speech.
He said he wanted to send a message. In Atlanta, during Braves games, the strippers from the Cheetah Club fly a banner over the stadium attached to a biplane. It’s far cheaper to sail a banner over downtown Damascus that reads “Stop Using Chemical Weapons” than launching a missile. And it also won’t stir up the hornets nest that is now, because of the President’s vacillating, humming along.
Somewhere, Lindsey Graham is cuddled up to his John McCain pillow whimpering about the speech that could have been.
We’ll be back to a push on gun control by the weekend and job creation by Monday. Barry got played.