Obama on Syria: Instant reaction

OPINION

  • President Obama delivers his remarks to the nation Tuesday from the White House.
President Obama delivers his remarks to the nation Tuesday from the White… (Getty Images )
September 10, 2013|RedEye

President Obama addressed the nation Tuesday to deliver his appeal for punishment of Syria. We asked four RedEye special contributors for their reactions to the speech.

War and non-peace

President Obama played the "dying children" card in his little powwow with the American people. The general response: "What's happening in Syria is terrible, but ... ." Americans are tired of getting involved. Most people appreciate that we're the world's sole superpower but don't like the responsibility that comes with the title. We've reached a point where America attacks other lands not for something archaic like national interest, but because we're the one with the biggest stick. In the end, hawks get what they want—the chance to show the world how badass our military is. And liberals learn the hard way that global peace is a dream (like "hope" and "change"), and that the only way to stop killing in the world is to break stuff. —Hector Luis Alamo Jr. (@hectorluisalamo), really misses the Obama of 2008

Did you really expect more?

Tuesday's speech was a bizarre drivel of rhetorical somersaults and verbal hopscotch. Americans who tuned in heard a case for military strikes. Or did we hear something entirely different? After first learning of our moral duty to act, we then learned that if Russian President Vladimir Putin asks Syrian President Bashar Assad nicely to turn over his chemical weapons ... well, that would be fine too. We were told Assad is a monster, killer of women and children. He's like Hitler, doggone it! But a mighty military pinprick will do. Kill 100,000 people with guns, shells and terror? No problem. But for gosh sakes, don't use gas! The bottom line: The president's speech was like his Syria policy: incoherent, indecisive, inconsistent and weak. Do we really have more than three more years of such rank amateurism? —Kyle Stone (@kestone83), Chicago Young Republicans board member

Obama got it right

I haven't been following the escalating Syrian Civil War closely. That's partially because it's too damn hot to think, but mainly because there was that epic twerking fail video on YouTube. Life's busy. Still, after a decade of war, I had a pretty strong gut "hell, no" reaction to any U.S. involvement in Syria. But after President Obama's speech, and the subsequent Google image results from "Syria gas attack," I'm left horrified; rows of dead children will do that to even the war-weariest of us. Today as Syria mourns the violent murder of hundreds of children, America will remember those taken from us so violently 12 years ago. We may not be able to right every wrong, and we can't get back the ones we lost, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying to make the world better when we can. —Niki Fritz (@fritzfrack), National Organization for Women's Chicago chapter member

Nothing new here

If President Obama's goal was to build more congressional support for military intervention in Syria, I have no idea what he said that would improve those odds. Polls show that the only thing more unpopular than Congress is intervening in Syria. Does he really think his speech will make Americans tell their representatives to vote otherwise now? You have to admit this whole situation drips with irony. I never thought I'd see the day where California Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to Barbara Boxer would be FOR military intervention abroad. It's amazing what a difference it makes when one of their own is sitting in the White House. It's also amusing watching how uncool Obama's become in liberal circles recently. Weren't expecting this, were you? —John Giokaris (@johngiokaris), political director of Chicago Young Republicans

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