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September 7th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Obama Falls Short of Wider Backing for Syria Attack,” represents an unfortunate twist of timing for the President as he seeks Congressional approval for a limited strike on Syria.
While most Congressional representatives agree that the President was correct in consulting them, determining the best course of action is proving to be extremely divisive. The President acknowledges the difficulties and is holding a national address on Tuesday to discuss them.
One hopes that the horror of using nerve gas, in this case, sarin, will prove to be sufficient to ultimately convince Congress to support the President despite the public, and international, clamor otherwise. Representatives were elected for the wisdom of their judgement, not to slavishly follow the polls. And some of the most honorable elected officials have cast decisive votes knowing that they may be voted out of office as a result.
Whether President Obama follows the advice of Congress remains to be seen, but that is a separate issue and shouldn’t be a factor influencing this vote. The President is taking a principled stand and if the Republicans truly believe that the United States is the exceptional nation, then they will own up to our responsibilities to enforce a chemical weapons ban that has stood mostly intact for 80-plus years.
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