Strike Syria? Think again
Former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld struggled to recall the exact words of the quotation he sought to cite when asked by an interviewer about President Barack Obama's handling of the Syrian situation. But he accurately expressed the essence of the quote often used to criticize weak leadership.
It's from Corinthians: “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”
Think of the red line drawn, deferred, then transferred. Think of executive authority claimed for a unilateral strike, then off-loaded onto a skeptical Congress acting on behalf of an even more skeptical nation. Think, too, of a parsing Secretary of State John Kerry arguing that this is not an “asking you to go to war” attack.
Lest our critique be misconstrued, this is not an attack endorsement. Neither is it advocacy for self-defeating isolationism. It is, however, an exhortation for the Obama administration and congressional attack hawks to acknowledge, as Mr. Rumsfeld has, “that intelligence is intelligence and not necessarily a fact.”
As the facts on the ground in Syria increasingly suggest.
Just Friday, a rebel group claimed responsibility for a chemical attack for which “intelligence” tags Syrian strongman Bashar Assad. Another rebel group was exposed for summarily executing captured Syrian soldiers. These are the kinds of rebels who appear to hold sway, hardly the “moderates” that Mr. Kerry insists “intelligence” shows to be dominant.
War-weary Americans deserve the facts. Right now, from this administration, they're not getting them.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Pension reform should not be linked to a natural gas extraction tax
- An NLRB ambush