Barack Obama says military intervention is justified in Syria in order to enforce “international norms”. He then argues it is in the US’ direct interest to enforce these norms in order to send the right message to other bad guys. Finally he says the US’ credibility is on the line because it is important that we “mean what we say”. I agree with all of these arguments, however Barack Obama does not.
For the moment let's pretend that all the hypocritical things Barack Obama said before he became President were the innocent musings of an amateur. Things like: he would never go to war unless the US was attacked or one was imminent, he would never go to war without the world by our side, he would negotiate with any dictator before starting a war, he would never go to war without congress, Iraq was a "war of choice" and he would never take military action by choice, etc., etc., etc. Let's separate all that from the context of Syrian intervention and just look at the pure merits of the current arguments. They still make no sense coming from this commander in chief.
All we need to do is look back less than a year. Recall, the Libya operation was based on similar arguments about "international norms" and "meaning what we say": here was another bad dictator, another case to prevent horrific casualties, another promise it would be a “matter of days”, another “responsibility to protect”. So off we went, without congress of course, to maintain a UN no-fly zone over Libya. (Only that was a ruse. In reality, it was regime change, and that’s what we eventually got after 8 months.) If that’s where it ended, we could say “mission accomplished”, albeit late and under false pretense. But that’s not where it ended.
Any positive message which might have come from following through on our promise to enforce international norms in Libya, and showing that we mean what we say, was squandered in whole on September 11th 2012 in Benghazi.
Is not the murder of an Ambassador against international norms? Didn’t Obama say he’d “find those responsible and hold them accountable”? Isn’t it vital to hold them accountable to send a message to others who would do us harm? Isn’t it important to mean what we say? We have the murderers on video for God's sake, yet there has been no attempt to bring them to justice!
It's not like they are hard to find. CNN had no trouble locating the leader of the attack and interviewed him for hours in a café in Benghazi!!! What message did Obama send by failing to respond to Benghazi, other than jailing a Christian videomaker, critical of Islam, who had nothing to do with the attack? What message did this send to Assad, Iran, and the other bad guys?
Barack Obama’s arguments make no sense in the context of his actions in just the last year. Forget his mind-blowing hypocrisy before that. It would be a travesty of historical proportions to grant this commander in chief authority to shoot missiles into Syria. The only thing he is qualified to shoot... is hoops.