September 15, 2013 |
President Obama and his aides were surprised this month by the strength of public opposition to their call for military action against Syria. They shouldn't have been. Americans have almost always been reluctant to go to war. In 1939, polls showed that most Americans not only wanted to stay out of war against Nazi Germany, they weren't even sure they wanted to send military aid to Britain - fearing, perhaps, a slippery slope. Today, Americans have additional reasons to be skeptical.
September 12, 2013 |
In all the long history of American presidential addresses, has there been an odder one than this? With the solemn grandeur appropriate to a declaration of war, President Obama informed the American people Tuesday night that a congressional vote on military action had been postponed because Russia was brokering a diplomatic initiative that might - or might not - put Syria's chemical weapons under international control. A Gettysburg Address this wasn't. There will be many more turns on the road to Damascus, but the politics of these weeks since the criminal use of chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21 already tell us a lot about the United States.
September 11, 2013
Re "The road to Damascus," Editorial, Sept. 10 The Times dispassionately explains the challenges faced by the Obama administration in selling the case for action against Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. Members of the administration have been spending an immense amount of energy and media time making the case that the U.S. is compelled to act against Syria. The American people just aren't buying this, so your tone seems wishy-washy on a matter that deserves a voice. Allow me to do you the favor: The United States is not compelled and should not act in the Syrian civil war. Getting involved in the Syrian conflict is a slippery slope.
September 10, 2013 |
When I first moved to Washington, I drove a beat-up Honda. But, because those were the waning days of the crack era, it was common to have any car broken into, particularly where I lived. This helped me rationalize my habit of keeping my car filthy. I figured a dirty-looking car would make a less tempting target. One day I parked around Dupont Circle. An enterprising homeless guy asked if he could clean my car for, I think, five bucks. I said something to the effect of "Sorry, buddy, but I keep it dirty so it won't get broken into.
September 9, 2013 |
President Obama has launched a media blitz culminating in a speech to the nation urging military action against Syria. He will speak to diverse constituencies that have little in common: a war-weary U.S. public, a fractious Congress, nations worried about the impact of a strike. Here is a primer on how to listen to the president's speech Tuesday. What started the current crisis? Syria has been locked in a civil war for more than two years, during which more than 100,000 people have died and more than 2 million people have fled to other countries as refugees.
September 8, 2013 |
After two weeks of furious debate about whether the United States should attack Syria, the arguments on both sides are now clear. Haven't been paying attention? Still undecided? Here are the most cogent arguments for and against a military strike. First, the case for intervention. The most basic reason to attack is the one advanced from the beginning by President Obama and his aides: to deter Syrian leader Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons again. If he doesn't pay a heavy price for the Aug. 21 incident that killed hundreds of civilians, he's likely to use more sarin.