It is now time for those who oppose this military intervention to make their case. I'll tell you what won't work: suggesting this is just like what Bush/Cheney did when they lied us into an invasion of Iraq. Rather than looking for an excuse to invade another country, we all know that President Obama has fought off advice to engage in Syria - even when it came from his closest national security advisors. This large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime is what finally changed his mind. But even more importantly, President Obama is not talking about invading Syria - he's talking about an action that would be limited in scope and duration - with no boots on the ground. An argument against the President's proposal has to take that into account.
If those arguing against intervention want to make a case that they are non-violent pacifists who would speak out against ANY military intervention under any circumstances - including this one - I think that could be a strong case. But that argument must also deal with the consequences. It requires that we either ignore the criminal slaughter of civilians or develop alternative forms of resistance. No one gets a "pass" on these difficult questions.
Since President Obama has abandoned the "regime change" argument that drove so many of our military misadventures in the past and is instead making the argument based on the United Nation's Chemical Weapons Convention, liberals who believe that military intervention is sometimes appropriate have a harder case to make against this one.
I believe that the strongest case is the one that asks the pragmatic question: will it work to stop the use/spread of chemical weapons? I know that's the question I've been wrestling with. President Obama tried to assure us about that yesterday.
I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out.But short of making the operational details public, that is probably as far as he can go. So this is where the rubber meets the road for me. The argument I'll make to those who represent me in Congress is that their primary job is to determine the efficacy of these actions in reaching the goals President Obama has laid out. And yes, that involves some trust...that's why elections matter.