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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

President Obama's Convincing Syria Speech - But Americans Aren't Hearing the Truth

“We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use them as the backbone of a life trying to defend something," quote from "A Few Good Men".
President Obama's convincing speech on September 10, 2013 was one of the most effective and passionate of his Presidency, in support of defending Syrian civilians against chemical weapons attacks by their own government. 

Unfortunately, the American people simply aren't hearing the truth about President Obama's persuasive argument to retaliate against President Assad's horrid attack on civilians. He may have helped his argument, but probably not enough.
"You can't handle the truth,"...

Americans are obviously worried sick about the lack of value in waging more wars when most of us can't depend on income security at home.  We "get" the risk of launching yet another Middle East War, because we haven't seemed to make much difference in the Operation Dessert Storm, the Iraqi War or the War in Afghanistan, which is still going on.  Attacks against Syria, for the violation of international agreements against using chemical weapons on civilians, means putting more Americans at risk for defending countries whose names we can hardly pronounce for purposes we simply can't understand.  Nonetheless, it doesn't seem to resonate with Americans that our nation waged war in Iraq with no evidence of national security risks.  As it turned out, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq, but Americans, under President Bush II,  invaded the country, anyway.  As it turns out, Syrian President Assad and his family have used weapons of mass destruction on the country's civilians, but Americans are simply not inclined to do anything about it.  This makes virtually no sense.

Now, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin has put a diplomatic solution on the table to avoid an assault on Syria.  

If Putin had put forth his idea for a peaceful solution a few days earlier than he did, it’s doubtful that President Obama would have bothered to deliver a prime time speech on Tuesday night. What he said—Syria is still dangerous, but there’s no need to act just yet while we pursue this new diplomatic path—doesn’t move the plot forward or require the nation’s rapt attention. It also doesn't make much sense, either.  We're either going to retaliate or not.

Obviously, America must peruse every diplomatic avenue before, eventually, taking the necessary action to retaliate against the use of chemical weapons against civilians. Doing nothing is not an option, because the next time chemical weapons are used will be against American military trying to defend US national security interests. For example, Americans could find ourselves involved in preventing Iran from launching a nuclear weapon against Israel (Dear God Forbid).  Chemical weapons could do a lot to destroy Israel and American defenses against potentially heinous war mongering.

But, Americans aren't hearing these potentialities and truth seems to have abandoned the discussion altogether.

"We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use them as the backbone of a life trying to defend something," says Jack Nicholoson's character, Colonel Nathan Jessup.

President Obama said, "If we fail to actthe Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield, and it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons and to use them to attack civilians.:

"If fighting spills beyond Syria's borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad's ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or to take a more peaceful path. This is not a world we should accept.

We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use them as the backbone of a life trying to defend something," quote from "A Few Good Men".

Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson): "All you did was weaken a country today... that's all you did. You put people's lives in danger."

But Americans simply can't handle the truth, at least not yet.

President Obama gave Americans a passionate argument for defending Syrian civilians and US national interest against the use of chemical weapons, but we simply can't handle the truth.

Now, the opportunity for a diplomatic resolution is in the "court" of Russian President Putin, who says he'll negotiate a turnover of chemical weapons out of Syria in exchange for no US retaliatory attack.  Unfortunately, President Putin has little credibility when discussing peace. Rather, he seems addicted to ambition, whatever the cost to others (at least, that's my opinion of him).

So, the US is now in a diplomatic holding pattern, waiting for instructions from President Putin about how to proceed.  

Meanwhile, the truth will become ever more clouded and the suffering of the Syrian people will grow.

It's often hard to listen to the truth, but there's no way of avoiding it forever.  If Americans learned anything during the attacks on September 11, 2001, it was to pay attention to the truth.  There was ample evidence of the growing momentum of Al Qaeda before the brutal attacks on New York City's Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the aborted attack on Washington DC, but they were ignored. Growing threats were ignored because few people wanted to pay attention to what was self evident.  And then we were attacked.

President Obama made a very convincing speech to Americans about why Syria is important and for the importance of retaliating against the use of chemical weapons, killing over one thousand civilians.  It's dangerous to ignore the truth.  It's high time our nation learns to handle the truth. Otherwise, our national security is at risk.

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