Unfortunately, nothing excites people in this town more than a foreign war or the prospect of one. The media needs to sell papers, clicks, and ratings. The politicians need to show the appropriate amount of righteous indignation. They need the votes. While the peaceniks shall make a perfunctory cameo or two; they need donors to maintain contribution levels.
When the United States directly expands the Syria conflict, it should come as no surprise. During the course of the last few months the signs were there that the powers that be — Democrats and a few misguided Republicans — wanted to do so. More justification was needed. If the Assad regime used chemical or biological weapons, it may have given the U.S. enough justification to chime in. You’re welcome Europe. You built it. We may be coming to make it just a little worse.
No matter what happens during the course of the next few days, weeks or months, Congress needs to step up oversight of this matter. Republicans, especially, need to do more than just rubber-stamp Obama Administration action. Our party tends to be quite deferential to the Executive Branch on national security matters and the Obama Administration’s legislative affairs team is banking on this support. House Republicans, do not make it easy for them.
I have yet to hear one person in responsible position of power clearly articulate why American involvement in Syria is in the U.S. national interest. What are U.S. national security interests?
The Syria conflict is a regional problem that must be resolved locally, without direct U.S. involvement. The use of chemical and biological weapons is outrageous, politically troglodytic; however, that alone is not a reason for the U.S. to poke around in a region of the world where there is a lot more at play than the use of WMD.
Lobbing a few multi-million dollar missiles into Syria may make the Obama Administration feel good, but that is not a reason to potentially grow this conflict. There are other ways to act without the bravado that will be a lot more effective over the long run. As for Congressional Republicans, do oversight and stay out of the approval process. The President can act in this case without the Congressional blessing.