Thoughts on the Presidential Address last night

This morning while listening to critics of President Obama from last night I couldn’t help but ask why didn’t Congress get behind Obama exactly 1 year earlier when he sought Congressional authorization for air strikes in Syria.

Despite all the rhetoric Congress does not want any formal proposal from the White House requesting an authorization of force.

Why? 

  • If someone votes against any resolution that eventually passes and the use of force is successful how would that no vote be viewed at election time?
  • If someone votes for any resolution that eventually passes and the United States is thus drawn into an extended military conflict without any successful closure how would that yes vote be viewed at election time?

I doubt if the White House wants to make a formal request to Congress.

Why?

Given the thought that action must be taken against this threat if you were the President would you chance the delays and lack of any decisions in Congress preventing any responses? Think about last year when President Obama addressed the nation concerning the usage of chemical weapons in Syria and his position that the US should begin targeted air strikes against the Assad government. Congress sang a different tune when it might benefit them politically.

Here, in this piece, I’m not presenting any arguments on whether or not action should be taken against ISIL or what action should be taken.

To be clear for those who might wonder:

  • I believe that the group is a threat.
  • I do not believe that this group is a state (country in popular usage of the term versus a political science usage).
  • I do not believe that this group represents people who are of true Islamic faith.

I’m suggesting that our modern elected representatives desire political convenience over making tough decisions. I believe that is more so today than with past generations. We might desire convenience for ourselves, but is convenience always the best or even beneficial?

Note:

(For clarification:  I use the term ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is used by organizations such as the Associated Press because to me it creates a broader geographic image than ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Technically neither of the labels would be more accurate than the Arabic shorthand term of DAIISH. While significant distinctions exist, when an English speaking official or publication in the English language uses or switches from one term or the other I do not view that as any sign by itself of shifting opinions).

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