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Opening Arguments

Is he Syrias?

Not-so-surprising headline: "Many in Middle East struggling to understand Obama's Syria policy"

Obama's abrupt decision on Saturday to delay the strikes that seemed just hours away is seen in the region as the latest confirmation of an incoherent U.S. approach of mixed messages and unfulfilled threats that have driven America's standing to a new low.

Many of us in the Midwest are struggling to understand it, too. President Obama's own words certainly don't help us in that struggle. Here he is explaining why he's going to Congress, which he's always said he didn't need to do:

At a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, this morning, Obama talked about how he decided to ask Congress to authorize a military strike in Syria. “Some people had noted, and I think this is true, that had I been in the Senate in the midst of this period, I probably would have suggested to a Democratic or a Republican president that Congress should have the ability to weigh in an issue like this, that is not immediate, imminent, time-sensitive.”

A few moments later he said that, “We may not be directly, imminently threatened by what’s taking place in a Kosovo or a Syria or Rwanda in the short term, but our long-term national security will be impacted in a profound way, and our humanity is impacted in a profound way.”

No direct, imminent threat? Well, what the hell, then.