Defensive, because the President lists all the reasons against his position and ineffectually tries to destroy them.
Disappointing, because he seems unable to grasp how deep the opposition goes and that rejection of his arguments is not based on failure to understand them.
Demagogic, because his appeal to watch videos of Assad’s gas victims puts them in a special category that is hard to accept. Dead women and children will be just as dead if they are killed in an American missile strike.
To create a special category for such weapons, the President cites “the horror of the Holocaust,” omitting that Nazis herded millions of Jews into concentration camps before gassing them. And in asserting America’s “sense of common humanity” on such matters, he is speaking for the only nation on earth that ever dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations—-twice-—without warning, killing men, women and children by hundreds of thousands in Japan and dooming countless more to slow death by cancer for decades.
“Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria,” he says, but few Americans believe that, and his media blitz of the past few days has not changed their views.
In the final minutes of his speech, he gives short shrift to the Russian effort at the UN, treating it with the skepticism it merits but not changing his stance in any material way.
To answer critics who believe that missile strikes at Assad would be ineffectual, the President claims with pride that “the United States military doesn’t do pinpricks.”
Just so. It inevitably brings death to innocents with no assurance of changing Assad’s behavior in any material way or not drawing us as deeply into Syria as we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Why must we have an Obama just as determined to strike Syria as George W. Bush was to invade Iraq? In two presidential elections, Americans have shown they want no more of that.
Listening to Obama last night brought back echoes of Bush’s “axil of evil” speech. No oratorical gifts can overcome that.