Obama Speaks To Us Tonight. Time to Listen and Speak Back.


Tonight President Obama  will let us in on  what he’s going to do about Isis in Syria.  Yesterday he briefed Congressional leaders .  Now it’s our turn.

For the record there has been little  if any  debate in Congress about the possibility of deeper military involvement in Syria or its environs.   Congress, after all,  has been away—-on vacation.

Having returned on Monday, Congress is not expected to do much of anything except display its  usual partisan bickering and ,from the right side of the aisle,  do and say whatever it takes to oppose the president.

Most of the  nation of course is thoroughly war-weary.  Yet despite polls that indicate this and  an overwhelming opposition to further military commitments, the drums of war seem to be  beating louder and louder.

Most of us remember that somewhere in the Constitution, the Founding Fathers gave the power to declare war to Congress.  But that power has been honored  more in the breach than the observance.    The last time Congress formally did declare war  was—correct me if I’m wrong— World War II.  All military engagements since  have been  authorized either  by UN or by  Congressional resolutions.

The War Powers Resolution (a.k.a. War Powers Act ) of 1973 in the wake of the Vietnam War was intended to get Congress more involved in initiating war, but has done little to limit executive military actions.  Witness the Iraq War.   The late Robert  Byrd at the time bewailed,  on the floor of the Senate,   the ominous absence of debate.

So now we await the president’s speech and what will be his military course of action.  Already he has asserted he can act alone, without Congressional approval.  Which in itself should  make all of us a little uneasy.

We’ve heard it all before.  The imminent threat to national security.  The barbaric enemy.  A coalition of the willing.   The limited  duration of the action.

And no boots on the ground.

We heard it  before.  And we’re hearing it again.







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  • I wish the country would have been listening instead of hoping back in 2012. Maybe Rauner should have lent Romney his old truck, that probably would have went over with the 'revenge' crowd better than a sound foreign policy.

    Just heard some smattering's about ISIS creating a 'cyber caliphate', maybe ISIS has finally reached hubris. You can double the debt, destroy the middle class, throw the country back into a race war and even invoke the ghost of Nixon, but don't mess with American's smart-ware!

  • In reply to 4zen:

    There were news reports that they were using whatever their version of Facebook to recruit and that there was some British hacker hell bent on bringing western computer networks down, and if we have an air operation in Syria, that's one of the places we hit. This was the only Internet source I found, although this was not where I saw it on the evening news.

    Hackers don't surprise me, but that ISIS has a full war machine, is selling oil, and is apparently well financed by Arab states who supposedly are our allies does. I said before that foreign policy seems to be going to hell, and reports that we have to cooperate with Iran and Assad over this just confirm that.

  • In reply to jack:

    'U.S. Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels With Loyalties All Over the Map'....A very disturbing article over at the New York Times. Apparently we're going to surgically go into Syria and train the 'good rebels', who fight next to suicide bombers and known terrorists, who promise not turn our own weapons on America, again, and say they are huge Jackie Robinson little league fans.

    Far as Iran goes, I've been scratching my head over it from the beginning, what has been gained?

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Iran has no use for Isis; it's a Shi'ite nation. Thus our allies.

    BTW, 4zen, what would you do? You haven't told us yet. I can't wait to hear your strategy.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Iran is our ally? A simple Google brought up an article from October of last year detailing political and armed force Iranian's calling for the death of America, walking on the American Flag and spitting on images of Obama, but you call them allies?

    What would I do? I would elect a President that had a sensible foreign policy. Not one that has mocked every sensible narrative on world dynamics. Obama has been wrong on almost everything, which is not surprising given a presidency based in demagoguery.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    I'm still convinced (and apparently the U.S. and Israel are convinced) that whoever the Ayatollah is still runs the country and wants to nuke everyone else in the region.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    You do not answer my question. What is a "sensible foreign policy"?\
    What is a "sensible narrative on world dynamics"? And how is Obama's presidency "based in demagoguery"?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Romney's narrative was sensible, and tho you blame W. for everything, he was right about what would happen if we hastily pulled out of Iraq.

    Obama is a demagogue because he too often appeals uneducated voters. He stirs them up with objective moral truths like 'equality', but fails to admit his solutions destroy other objective truths like 'liberty'. He does this for the purpose of power and never willingly compromises, which often leaves me rooting for suspects I wouldn't otherwise agree with.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    What was "Romney's narrative"?

    On the contrary, Obama has been too willing to compromise with the Republicans who from day one of his presidency followed a concerted course of obstructionism.

    The fact is there has never been in our history as wide a gap between the rich and the rest of us. And in our criminal justice system there isn't an even-handed justice. Witness the huge number of incarcerated Black Americans, most of whom convicted of pot possession,while the Big bankers and hedge fund operators escape jail time with a slap on the wrist.

    So there is clearly inequality in our society.

    What freedoms has Obama taken away?

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Romney's narrative was that Russia was our greatest enemy, to which Obama infamously scoffed and said the eighties wanted their foreign policy back, fail. Romney also said it would be a tragedy if we pulled all our troops out of Iraq, where we now have to return.

    The rest I'll leave for a thread on those issues.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    October 2013 is not now. Do you recall the geopolitical axiom "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I didn't think this was 18th (or maybe19th) Century Europe either.If a country doesn't have principles,foreign policy doesn't mean much.

    I guess Russia is our ally when it is against Chechens on its own territory or in Syria, but then we are slapping even more sanctions on them because of Ukraine, even though Putin says he is in favor of a cease fire.

    There are certain situations where a pox on both houses is the correct response.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    There was a former ambassador to Iraq on Charlie Rose who said something about "we can win this one in Iraq if we can get everyone to buy into the government, and we can win this one in Syria if we an get the Alawites and the Free Syrian Army to come to come to some accommodation, because the Alawites are tired of Assad." My immediate reaction--fat chance on the latter.

  • In reply to jack:

    And isn't Turkey strangely silent now?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    They are apparently supporting Hamas (which I told some self-proclaimed blogger of what is Muslim is indistinguishable from ISIS).

    I guess Turkey can now take care of all the Syrian refugees.

  • In reply to jack:

    Isis is al-Qaeda on steroids.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Yes. I haven't read nearly often enough that Isis is simply the new name for what once was known as al-Qaeda in Iraq.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    You forget the Republican President George W. Bush's criminal foreign policy is responsible ultimately for Isis. He got us into Iraq under false pretenses and his satrap unwisely disbanded the Saddam's army, generals of which, I understand, now are leading Isis insurgents.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    In that ISIS started in Syria, and I don't remember the U.S. intervening in favor of either Assad or the Free Syrian Army, nor really giving a damn about the 2 captured journalists until recently, I don't see the cause and effect. There were also prior reports that Russia warned us that Chechens were taking over the fight in Syria. It was stated then that the Chechens were totally nuts, and don't forget the Tsarnaevs. As I noted above, the beheader computer hacker from Britain is in Syria.

    Admittedly, Iraq hasn't been able to get its act together after we deposed Saddam, but the only thing that seems to have caused is that ISIS was able to march in from Syria without any resistance, and some of the old Iraqi army joined them after not being willing to fight for Saddam.

    The only lesson from Egypt, Libya and Syria is that the Arab Spring sure went to pot in a hurry. Tunisia may be the only democracy that survived.

  • In reply to jack:

    Isis ,according to a number of sources I Googled, started in Iraq.

  • The Middle East is a convoluted entangling geopolitical mess. Like the Hydra of Greek myth, when one of its heads is cut off (Saddam Hussein, bin Laden, al-Qaeda) another (Isis) pops up.

    We should have learned by now that military force, by itself, is not a permanent solution. Obama is doing the best he can given the cards the Bush Iraq policy dealt him. Whatever we do now, we must do with circumspection and deliberation. Above all, we must recognize we cannot go it alone and that our objective should be focused and narrow. No more regime changes or nation building in our own image.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Holy Stockholm Syndrome, Batman! Aquinas you are impenetrable.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Impenetrability is more appropriate in the Far East.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    If one wants to deem foreign policy criminal, how about Hillary Clinton's in Bengahzi? Besides 4 Americans killed, apparently the terrorists have so taken over that country that our Embassy staff had to be evacuated to Tunisia.

    I think the only reason Assad is sticking on is that he knows that like Khadaffi, he will be beheaded if he surrenders.

  • In reply to jack:

    As for beheadings, in Saudi Arabia they're integral to its criminal justice system.

    And where does Isis get a significant amount of its funding? From Sunni sheiks in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Didn't I say something about our Arab allies 4 hours 6 minutes ago?

    And didn't you say something about allies being relative 17 minutes ago?

  • In reply to jack:

    The Republicans in the House tried like the dickens to pin something on Hilary, but the best they could do was utter groundless speculations and silly innuendos.

    GWB on the other hand indisputably lied about WMD in Iraq and even had Colin Powell give false testimony.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Hillary is on the pike for her own words "I take full responsibility, and I'm out of here." I think we are entitled to some explanation.

    I'll agree with the Iraq "we broke it we bought it" sentiment.

    You still haven't explained, despite what I said above, how we created ISIS.

  • In reply to jack:

    Let us not forget that the Republican House cut funding for security in our embassies.

  • Gentlemen, in writing about "Hillary's" foreign policy, aren't you forgetting her boss, whose policy she supposedly was implementing?

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    There may be a point that Congress only had the power to call Susan Rice and Hillary before the committees.

    However, there are already rustlings about how Hillary (like most former officials) is ready to break from her former boss.

    There is, of course, the unanswered question of who told Susan Rice what to say, that it was some protest against some movie, instead of a terrorist attack timed to commemorate 9/11. I also suppose that it is the State Department's responsibility to assure the safety of its officers and employees, and Hillary was Secretary of State.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, don't you think ifDarrell Issa had proof of malfeasance by Hillary, he would have gone for the jugular?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    No, because that would just make her a victim, and it was obvious that she wasn't talking beyond what she said. And, once out of office, there was nothing legally he could do about it.

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