Thursday, August 29, 2013

Irony and Unintended Consequences

How ironic that on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I have a Dream Speech,” our President will be speaking at the very same time that he is scrambling fighter jets and bombers to rain down destruction on Syria, a country that hasn’t attacked or invaded us and with whom we have very little trade or interaction. The reason given for this action is that chemical weapons have been used in that country’s civil war and our intelligence services are pretty sure that Bashir Assad was behind it. I say “pretty sure” because this morning brings news that the intelligence we have connecting Assad to the chemical weapons attack is “not a slam dunk.” For instance, we aren’t totally sure who controls the chemical weapons stockpile in Syria or for that matter, where they are  located, and at this hour there remains no solid evidence linking Assad himself with the order to use them.

Now, back when Barack Obama was a US Senator from Illinois, it was exactly this sort of thing that sent him into high dudgeon when George W. Bush was in the White House. “The President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual imminent threat to the nation,” he intoned back in 2008 as a candidate for W’s job. Vice-President Biden went even further back then, claiming that if Bush went to war in Iraq without first getting approval from Congress it would be grounds for impeachment. Of course, it certainly isn’t news when a candidate for President says one thing on the campaign trail, and dramatically changes his tune after he gets his first daily intelligence briefing as President, but still, at the very least, both of these men seem to owe old George an apology.

Just a thought before I wrap this up. What happens if one of the bombs floating down from 35,000 feet happens to land smack dab in the unknown location of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, spewing deadly gas throughout Damascus killing thousands of innocent people? Will our President be brought up on war crimes charges at The Hague? Will he have to return his Nobel Peace prize?

God save us from the unintended consequences of our folly.