Saturday, September 7, 2013

One of the more infuriating columns I've read in some time

I haven't been political with my posts in some time. A column from the New York Times compels me to break that truce.

Timothy Egan wrote a piece recently that laid the blame for whatever we're doing (or not doing) with Syria at the feed of former President George W. Bush.

Mr. Bush left office nearly five years ago. His aims on foreign policy were repudiated in a midterm elections seven years ago. The chief architects of his foreign policy left office that long ago or even longer. He has been remarkably quiet in his time since leaving office. It stretches credibility to lay the Syria impasse at his feet.

I'm troubled by recent developments, and in many ways I identify with the ambivalence our president is showing. I also sympathize with his predicament by which words he said in the past have come back to haunt him. As for dealing with jackals in Congress who thwart his aims, well, I think many of us have had our own adversaries and partisans poking at our vulnerabilities.

We've all been guilty of leaping before we have looked.

Ross Douthat's most recent editorial is perhaps my favorite perspective on what to do with Syria. I wish the President hadn't promised action in Syria. But he did. I wish he hadn't thrown the vote to Congress. But he did. I wish Congress didn't seem inclined to undermine the president's stature. It looks like it does.

There is a messy reality on the ground in Syria. And it's tough to push for the overthrow of a regime when we know the likely victors of that struggle bear our nation significant ill will. The episode in Syria has not really become about the Syrian people, or even about Assad or Putin. It's about the inferences millions around the world will make about America's wherewithal, and I'm afraid we're coming up short long before we need to.

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