Obama speech: As confused as his policy

posted at 8:41 am on September 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

At least it was short. That, however, was its only virtue, but even that wasn’t enough to raise questions about why Barack Obama bothered to give such a momentous speech to say … nothing at all new, and nothing at all about what he wanted from the American people.

Charles Krauthammer dubbed this the “oddest presidential speech ever,” and he has a point. Presidential addresses from the White House during prime time usually have a clear purpose, or what I called on Twitter last night a “Big Ask.” This particular bully pulpit isn’t used for fireside chats or for campaign speeches, but to focus American attention on a particular and inexorable course of action, and to rally Americans behind the Commander in Chief for that action.

Yesterday, though, Obama sounded contradictory and confused.  He attempted to rouse moral outrage over the use of chemical weapons against scores or hundreds children in Damascus on August 21st, which is an easy case to make — but thousands of children have been killed in the Syrian civil war in all sorts of ways, by all sides. Obama argued that Bashar al-Assad had to be deterred from using chemical weapons in the future, but left out any call for regime change, which is still the official strategic goal of the Obama administration. To Americans reluctant to engage in another war, Obama cajoled us to action, claiming that only the United States had the power to bring Assad to heel.

And then almost in the same breath, Obama then acknowledged that a diplomatic solution had arisen, despite two weeks of beating the drums for war. Just after arguing that only the US military could solve the problem, Obama said that he was turning to Russia for a potential solution. Not only that, but he also announced that he had asked Congress to hold off on a vote to authorize military action until the Russia and UN track played itself out.  This change was necessitated by the fumbling of his Secretary of State, even though Obama himself had just called the UN “hocus pocus.”

So what was Obama asking of the American people? Nothing. What new and convincing information did Obama bring to the American people?  None.  What new argument did Obama make to shift the strong momentum against military action? He had none.  There was nothing new in this speech from Obama that hadn’t been argued at length in his six broadcast-network interviews the day before, or that his White House and State Department hadn’t offered in the previous week before the speech.

And most oddly, despite having the attention of the nation on the eve of 9/11, Obama never bothered to mention either the devastating terrorist attacks from twelve years ago or the sacking of the Benghazi consulate on the previous anniversary, which took place on Obama’s watch.  The closest that Obama came to either was a mention of al-Qaeda which argued that it would benefit most if we didn’t attack Assad, who’s currently fighting their affiliates in Syria, and an argument that the majority of Assad’s opponents are peaceful moderates:

It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But al Qaida will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death.

The majority of the Syrian people, and the Syrian opposition we work with, just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom. And the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism.

Did Obama offer any evidence of these assertions?  Not at all, although plenty of evidence exists to cast serious doubt on them.

The speech may have been short, but it far outstripped its substance and its symbolic value. Before a President gets up to wave the bloody shirt, is it too much to ask that he (a) knows what the hell he wants to do, (b) actually has decided on military action as a last resort instead of a first resort, and (c) and knows who we’re fighting against — and for?

Update: Fixed video, and the second (b) was supposed to be (c).


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Not very convincing as The seat of American Power the Oval Office is.

workingclass artist on September 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Didn’t you see the article a couple weeks ago? Obama doesn’t do Oval Office speeches. I’m not sure why he did it with the corridor from the East Room as a backdrop when it wasn’t a presser. Made it seem a bit more regal than Presidential.

Frankly, if he had anything to say, this is the kind of speech he should have been giving in front of a joint session of Congress. He is, after all, demanding they give him authorization to spend over $100M in cruise missiles to punish a nation for which there is zero national interest (despite what he claimed).

Happy Nomad on September 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Resolute desk reduced to a footrest….Oval Office a place to play Spades.

workingclass artist on September 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

How can someone learn something new when they already know everything?

Alinsky on September 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM

You never learn anything by doing it right. ~~Barry Obama

timberline on September 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

It will take decades for America to recover from the eight years of this buffoon…

d1carter on September 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Really, happytobehere? Asking a troll to pick among the lies in a Obama speech is just like Sophie’s choice.

Happy Nomad on September 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

LOL. It feels like only yesterday that Obama gave the greatest speech of all time on Race. Remember that one? So many memorable lines. I can’t remember any right now, but I remember it was super memorable.

happytobehere on September 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

If he thought using chemical weapons was so bad why didn’t Obama demand that Assad be charged with War Crimes?

The title of Obama’s speech should have been: “Obama Saves Assad”.

If Obama is such a peace lover why didn’t he go to the UN months ago with the proposal the Russians are pushing?

Bottom line to Assad from Obama: “You can slaughter women and children any way you like, just don’t use chemical weapons.”

albill on September 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

It will take decades for America to recover from the eight years of this buffoon…

d1carter on September 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

You think this is the nadir, huh? Obama wasn’t foisted upon us from Mt Olympus. We voted for him. In overwhelming numbers. Twice.

It will take generations to recover from our own electorate. There’s no sign that it’s actually getting any better.

Just wait… it will get much, much worse.

happytobehere on September 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

So when does the dismantling of the chemical weapons begin? There’s a big sarc tag to go along with that because I don’t see it happening. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. There will be more demands from Putin because now it seems he has the upper hand in the situation.

scalleywag on September 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

A few blocks away, Harold Washington College student Henry Ortiz said he hadn’t followed the Syria debate closely, but said he trusted the president and government to make the right call. He also didn’t watch Obama’s speech.

LOL

“Because Obama”

Midas on September 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Bottom line to Assad from Obama: “You can slaughter women and children any way you like, just don’t use chemical weapons.”

albill on September 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

That sounds reasonable, actually. As long as you replace “women and children” with Islamists.

happytobehere on September 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

It will take decades for America to recover from the eight years of this buffoon…

d1carter on September 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

You think this is the nadir, huh? Obama wasn’t foisted upon us from Mt Olympus. We voted for him. In overwhelming numbers. Twice.

It will take generations to recover from our own electorate. There’s no sign that it’s actually getting any better.

Just wait… it will get much, much worse.

happytobehere on September 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

You’re both far more optimistic than am I. I actually don’t see the country *ever* recovering – not given the destruction done to it – it’s own systems and mechanisms have been ravaged and sabotaged to the point where there is no return using those systems and mechanisms anymore.

It’s going to have to be figuratively razed and rebuilt at this point.

Midas on September 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom

This is a progressive lie. Most folks do not want this.

GWB on September 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Help Kickstart World War III!

“We promised to support him, no matter what.”

Kenosha Kid on September 11, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Azzholes in the media take

Obama’s message on Syria: Look the other way or accept moral duty?

My take

“The CiC’s head is as empty as the chair behind him…nobody is there there and the entire world knows it”

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 10:58 AM

And then I watched a very tired, lonely man walk away from that podium and I felt bad for him at that moment.

scalleywag on September 11, 2013 at 9:13 AM

It is hard to feel anything but derision for a man has actively worked to destroy the principles our country.

zoyclem on September 11, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Presidential addresses from the White House during prime time usually have a clear purpose, or what I called on Twitter last night a “Big Ask.” This particular bully pulpit isn’t used for fireside chats or for campaign speeches, but to focus American attention on a particular and inexorable course of action, and to rally Americans behind the Commander in Chief for that action.

So, in that regard, the speech was historic and unprecedented.

Another BO ‘win’. Let the MSM know so they can unleash the lapdogs!

socalcon on September 11, 2013 at 11:02 AM

“The CiC’s head is as empty as the chair behind him…nobody is there there and the entire world knows it”

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Hadn’t noticed the empty chairs in the hall behind him. Ironically an Arm Chair representing F&F; and three on the left for Syria, Libya and Egypt.

socalcon on September 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Hadn’t noticed the empty chairs in the hall behind him. Ironically an Arm Chair representing F&F; and three on the left for Syria, Libya and Egypt.

socalcon on September 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM

I intended to type “chairs”, in the plural.

Your designation of the chairs is superb.

All I could see during the speech were the empty chairs, the empty head, and how right Eastwood is.

Plus, I was embarrassed for the USA, but I am that 1000 times a day, lately.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

O.K., after reading the transcript for this clown I feel
like we are all in the Movie The Wall….you know,

the Pink Floyd Wall.

Relax realx, it’s just a little PinPrick…there’ll be
no more AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

But you may feel a little sick….

ToddPA on September 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Cupla things what irk me:
1) Now America is again “exceptional” when Obama and his speechwriters think the word will help their speech, after decades of liberals, and years of our current President, all saying that America has never been exceptional, no more than “the Brits or the Greeks think they’re exceptional.”
2) After saying that “only the American military” can deliver an “unbelievably small” “targeted air strike” against Assad, he then tells us he’s turning over the whole schlmiel to the UN. This necessarily invokes international law and the 1925 Geneva treaty about chemical weapons, where no one nation, not even the “exceptional” USA, has the right to strike.
3) The slippery slope argument, long derided by liberals when it comes to moral debate (“we can change the definition of marriage this much and it will not change further”) is now the lynchpin of their moral argument that if we don’t crush Assad, future bad guys will get the idea that we don’t care about their use of WMDs. Bullcrap – enforcing the speed limit doesn’t necessarily mean ticketing every single violator in order to maintain order.
4) Preezy sayeth that only the USA can be the world cop, because we are the only one with the force and might to do so. Only a liberal could think that possession of arms automatically leads to use of force (this, of course, is why libs literally cannot understand gun owners – cannot) or to moral imperative of imposition. To paraphrase the liberal argument over the last six decades: “Who do you think you are, trying to impose your morals on everybody else?”

/rant

DublOh7 on September 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM

O’s speechwriters are as narcissistic as he is. They think they’re fooling us every time.

mankai on September 11, 2013 at 8:51 AM

The Soundbites will get to the 52% via the ObamaPhoneWithFullDataPlan and will be believed. And as we can see from the last election, that’s all he needs.

So, yes, our country is run by idiots – just a larger set of them than we usually point the finger at.

Tsar of Earth on September 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM

He made a compelling case for the importance of enforcing international treaties with military action. He began with a short history of chemical weapons and the reasons why the international community has decided to claim they count as a “crime against humanity.” He moved to the treaties that multiple nations, including the U.S. has signed banning those weapons. And then made the case that the U.S. should enforce those treaties. Really, rather simple and straightforward. Now if you have criticisms of internationalism, that’s fine. But it was a good speech.

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

In effect, he justified the invasion of Iraq, and brushed aside arguments against it.

Those boomerangs are tricky things.

questionmark on September 11, 2013 at 11:37 AM

I took the measure of this fool in 2007/2008. Since then, my opinion has been verified countless times. The most foolproof way to take a position on an issue affecting the well-being of the United States is to land on the side 180 degrees opposed to 0booba.

Easy peasy!

freedomfirst on September 11, 2013 at 11:44 AM

/rant

DublOh7 on September 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Very well spoken rant, at that.

coldwarrior on September 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM

He made a compelling case for the importance of enforcing international treaties with military action.

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Syria is not a signatory to the chemical weapons ban treaty. That’s why he keeps referring to ‘international NORMS‘ rather than ‘international LAW.’

Resist We Much on September 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

There’s a lot of psychoanalysis of Obama in this thread – which is appropriate considering his Bizzaro World he has dragged us into. We struggle to comprehend. Maybe this will help:

Recall, as a child, he was passed from one uncaring relative to another. Left alone in a room until they could ship him out again. And the first real human interaction he had was with Socialists – and worse.

Just keep that in mind.

Tsar of Earth on September 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Let the MSM know so they can unleash the lapdogs!

Cry ‘Squirrel’! and let slip the lapdogs of kinetic military action.

Ponderosa on September 11, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Plus, this, dummies

A Democratic strategist who works closely with the White House, and who requested anonymity to avoid political retribution, told me, “This has been one of the most humiliating episodes in presidential history.”

All you need to know.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:12 PM

I think this clowns fifteen minutes are about done.

MTF on September 11, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Too cute by half: Obama and his allies are masters of “spin,” packaging partial truths and outright distortions to a malleable public. With Syria, their dark arts are on full display. There is no other way to explain the White House disowning Secretary of State John Kerry’s call for Syria to turn over its stockpiles until the savvy Putin seized on the off-the-cuff remark as a way to protect ally Bashar al-Assad. Suddenly, the White House is touting the Putin plan as their brainchild, an outcome Obama had in mind when he travelled to Russia. Don’t buy it.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Above, from a leftie. Colmes agrees 100%.

When you lost Colmes, you lost on the Left.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I appreciate the last 2 weeks for all the videos now available.

I have seen/read what the best of fiction writers could have never conceived, evahhh.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM

He made a compelling case for the importance of enforcing international treaties with military action. He began with a short history of chemical weapons and the reasons why the international community has decided to claim they count as a “crime against humanity.” He moved to the treaties that multiple nations, including the U.S. has signed banning those weapons. And then made the case that the U.S. should enforce those treaties. Really, rather simple and straightforward. Now if you have criticisms of internationalism, that’s fine. But it was a good speech.

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

IOWs, he told Assad and every other dictator wannabe that if you’re going to kill thousands of your own citizens, you must not use chemical weapons. Bullets, grenades, bombs, starvation are on the list of approved methods of massacre.

“Let me put you in touch with our Foreign Military Sales team….”

BobMbx on September 11, 2013 at 12:18 PM

‘We cannot just turn away…’

Why not? We do it every day.

When Obama starts speaking out against the oppression, torture, rape, and slaughter of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, then I’ll start listening to him with regard to the deaths of 400 children.

Studies: Christians Are At Present The Most Persecuted Religious Group Worldwide

Outside the denominational media, two individuals have done more than anyone else to cover this phenomenon: Paul Marshall (of the Hudson Institute) and Brian Grim (of the Pew Research Center). All the data I have seen indicate that Christians are at present the most persecuted religious group world-wide. Grim recently testified about this before the European Parliament: He stated that Christians are directly harassed by governments in 102 countries and by “social actors” (read lynch mobs) in 101 countries. There has also been decent coverage by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the independent agency set up with government funding, in addition to the bureau within the State Department that reports on religious freedom worldwide every year.

In its 2013 report the Commission has a list of 8 countries (which include China) designated “countries of particular concern” (CPCs, who are reported as such to the President and the Congress, for possible US government actions). The 2013 list includes 3 Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. There is an additional list of countries heading toward CPC status, including 4 Muslim-majority or heavily Muslim countries: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria (its northen part), and Pakistan.

It is fair to conclude that Christians have most to be afraid of from actions by Muslims, be it by courts, government policies, or by mobs of enraged Muslims encouraged by police inaction.

Resist We Much on September 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

My coffee was good too…it’s as gone as that speech.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Obama’s war is over.

Hope everyone enjoyed it.

How long does he keep all that hardware bobbing up and down near Syria?

That ain’t cheap.

Meremortal on September 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM

liblikeaslave, you and obama are racists and savages.

The killing of children and men/women by machetes is not any less devastating. YOU ignore multi-millions slaughtered in:

The Congo
Sudan
RWwanda

Clinton and obama did nothing, nada, nothing.

You’re all full of hot air, racists.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

But, libfree, he never pointed out why his call to action was delayed until August 2013. His ‘red line’ comment was last year and there had been documented chem-weapon attacks for months before August.

The ‘empty suit’ in the WH gets focused on a bright shiny object- like the pix of ‘children dying while foaming at the mouth’- THEN it’s time for action (er, you may recall, that was unilateral action)

socalcon on September 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

100,000 dead, by any means, cutting hearts out too, is as bad as gassing over 1000.

All the slaughtered and enslaved Christians on top…nothing from you.

Ah, but obama called us “killers” in other words, last night “you who love the military”, then called you the “freedom and liberty lovers, my fellow Democrats”.

YOU and obama can go directly to Hell, into the hottest layer.

YOU and him have done nothing for liberty/freedom, not for one populace in the world. Name me one, just one, which is free/freer, due to obama/Hillary, you utter fools and hypocritical liars.

I triple dare you!!!

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Obama’s ‘Work with your oppressors, torturers, rapists, and murderers’ Old & Busted:

Obama: ‘Hey, You Crazy, Coptic Christians, Lighten Up On Pharaoh Morsi, Already!’

Once Again, The Obama Administration Told The Copts Not To Protest And To Cooperate With Their Persecutors

Postcards From Egypt (Photo Essay)

Obama’s New Hotness:

‘We cannot just turn away from children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor.’

- President Obama, 10 September 2013

Now, if those Syrian children had been survivors of late-term abortions, letting them writhe in pain and go still in a cold hospital linen closet wouldn’t be a problem for Obama.

Resist We Much on September 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Syria is not a signatory to the chemical weapons ban treaty. That’s why he keeps referring to ‘international NORMS‘ rather than ‘international LAW.’

Resist We Much on September 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

When you thump the opposition that hard, you should be required to offer him some ice to put on it. Do we really still believe he’s a professor?

smoothsailing on September 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Actually, most everyone gave libfree a solid thumping. Good comments and rebuttals all.

smoothsailing on September 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

But, as you know, they won’t stay lost. They can’t–they are too invested in Obama to stay gone for long.

DrMagnolias on September 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM

I was so angry I nearly spit at the TV when Ogabe cited the gassing of Jews during WWII as a reason to bomb Assad. I thought he’d plumbed the squalid depths of his immorality before, but he dug a new sub-basement by using the Holocaust as a justification for bombing Assad.

catsandbooks on September 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

There’s a lot of psychoanalysis of Obama in this thread – which is appropriate considering his Bizzaro World he has dragged us into. We struggle to comprehend. Maybe this will help:

Recall, as a child, he was passed from one uncaring relative to another. Left alone in a room until they could ship him out again. And the first real human interaction he had was with Socialists – and worse.

Just keep that in mind.

Tsar of Earth on September 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

He clearly has serious Mommy and Daddy issues from his accidental birth and abuse by liberal parents and grandparents and family ‘friends’.

slickwillie2001 on September 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

When you thump the opposition that hard, you should be required to offer him some ice to put on it. Do we really still believe he’s a professor?

smoothsailing on September 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Unfortunately, heads this mushy seem to be a requirement to join the academic club. Every once in awhile they accidentally let one of us in, but they discover their error and vow not to let it happen again. They also don’t want us to come to their parties which, considering whom we’d have to mingle with, is generally a-okay.

DrMagnolias on September 11, 2013 at 12:34 PM

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

In effect, he justified the invasion of Iraq, and brushed aside arguments against it.

Those boomerangs are tricky things.

questionmark on September 11, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Living with blinders on it’s tough to see.

Saddam gassed far more people, disregarded far more UN resolutions, made direct threats to US allies and interests and the war against him was supported by more nations and members of Congress than anything reflected in the Syria conflict.

But Bush was evil and O is the savior of the world.

Blind fools.

mankai on September 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

This is pure intellectual dishonesty. I don’t agree with Obama’s argument, but to claim it was poorly crafted is asinine. …

libfreeordie on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

A long-established maxim of social research is that people hear the things they want to hear; however obvious that may be, I think it is worthwhile to parse lib’s complete comment in order to understand what “our friends on the Left” are hearing, which explains why they can draw conclusions that are completely different from those of their opponents (with Obama’s speech as a textbook example), and what that implies for political interaction between the two factions, on this or any other issue.

He made a compelling case for the importance of enforcing international treaties with military action.

Omitting the prefatory and interpolated descriptions the gassing victims (and the accusations against Assad as perpetrator), here is what the President said on this point; I quote Mr. Obama from the transcript at the Washington Post:

On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits — a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war.

This was not always the case. In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust.

Libfreeordie:

He began with a short history of chemical weapons and the reasons why the international community has decided to claim they count as a “crime against humanity.”

Mr. Obama did make a good (if short) case for the creation of an international treaty against the use of chemical weapons.

Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.

Libfreeordie:

He moved to the treaties that multiple nations, including the U.S. has signed banning those weapons.

Even though it took the supposedly horrified world nearly 80 years after WWI to do so.
And, assuming for the argument that Assad is in fact guilty, he omitted the fact that Syria did not sign the agreement.

On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity. (…) When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people — to those children — is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.

Libfreeordie:

And then made the case that the U.S. should enforce those treaties.

Obama skips over the actual treaty terms, which require unified international enforcement against transgressing signatories, not unilateral action against non-signatory nations. While enlisting “the international community” at this point, to justify the agreement, Obama abruptly discards that formulation for an appeal to the national security of the US alone to justify military action.

Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.

If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran — which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path.

This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.

Libfreeordie:

Really, rather simple and straightforward.

One could say that Obama made a case for military strikes in order to suppress the proscribed behavior and establish US adherence to the spirit of the treaty, although — at this point in the speech — he does not suggest that all other avenues of diplomacy and sanction have been exhausted first (they haven’t yet been tried).

One could NOT say that “He made a compelling case for the importance of enforcing international treaties with military action” in general terms.

Now if you have criticisms of internationalism, that’s fine.

That’s it: praise for what constitutes less than a quarter of the speech; silence on the rest.

Unquestioning belief that the President is correct in assigning blame to Assad; by implication, the on-going debate on that conclusion, internationally and domestically, is irrelevant.

Unquestioning belief that the proposed strikes will accomplish the stated objectives without dangerous repercussions; although some objections are briefly mentioned in the speech, they are dismissed as unfounded.

Unquestioning omission of the President’s vacillation in policy since the civil war erupted and especially within the last few week; no comment on the weak justifications, given in his speech, for Obama’s erratic course changes, which are one of the primary causes of the public’s disapproval of his proposed strikes.

When one side hears only the (relatively) non-controversial portion of a speech and ignores the controversial part completely, there can be no production interaction because neither side understands what the other is so flipping concerned about.
(And yeah, Ace nails that one and so does Andy).

And libfree never does specify why he disagrees with Obama’s argument.

But, other than that,

… it was a good speech

.

It might have been well-crafted in the sense of following the strictures for rhetorical composition; most of Obama’s speeches are.

But it is still just rhetoric.

AesopFan on September 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM

V.I. Lenin had the best label for our King Putt: Useful Idiot.

I heard on the radio a Mr. Michael Beschloss (presidential historian don’t ya know) refer to Obowmao as a Constitutional Law PROFESSOR.

Mr. Beschloss (and NPR) kindly retract that statement as it is a LIE (among the multitude that surround this cretin and his minions).
Barack Hussein Soetoro Kardashian Obama is not now, nor has he EVER been a PROFESSOR of ANYTHING!
Show me his Curriculum Vitae and all his publications please. And I want to see them NOW!

Missilengr on September 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I miss the old world, before the full blown fascist oppression thru the lies and slander of political correctness. Forced upon all by the racist, baby killing, pedophile party. Way back when maybe an snl veteran Piscapo might portray Bob Schiefer from last nite’s follow up.
“I tell you Scott, I believe the president at one point actually messed himself. Believe me I know that look.”
It’ll come back I guess. Woodrow Wilson’s name wasn’t mentioned for a decade in D.C. after he was deposed.

onomo on September 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

There’s a lot of psychoanalysis of Obama in this thread – which is appropriate considering his Bizzaro World he has dragged us into. We struggle to comprehend. Maybe this will help:

Recall, as a child, he was passed from one uncaring relative to another. Left alone in a room until they could ship him out again. And the first real human interaction he had was with Socialists – and worse.

Just keep that in mind.

Tsar of Earth on September 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

He clearly has serious Mommy and Daddy issues from his accidental birth and abuse by liberal parents and grandparents and family ‘friends’.

slickwillie2001 on September 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

And I bet he also has a shiny new “Vlad’s B!tch” on his azz. Gonna have a hard time explaining that one to Mooch and Reggie.

cornbred on September 11, 2013 at 12:53 PM

There’s a lot of psychoanalysis of Obama in this thread – which is appropriate considering his Bizzaro World he has dragged us into. We struggle to comprehend. Maybe this will help:

Recall, as a child, he was passed from one uncaring relative to another. Left alone in a room until they could ship him out again. And the first real human interaction he had was with Socialists – and worse.

Just keep that in mind.

Tsar of Earth on September 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

He clearly has serious Mommy and Daddy issues from his accidental birth and abuse by liberal parents and grandparents and family ‘friends’.

slickwillie2001 on September 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

And I bet he also has a shiny new “Vlad’s B!tch” tattoo on his azz. Gonna have a hard time explaining that one to Mooch and Reggie.

cornbred on September 11, 2013 at 12:53 PM

V.I. Lenin had the best label for our King Putt: Useful Idiot.
Missilengr on September 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I’d argue his usefulness. But then I have a couple of empty suits in the closet already.

onomo on September 11, 2013 at 12:56 PM

At least it was short
September 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Oh contraire. I hoped for a presser. Opening it up for quesitons. (You notice? They’re actually asking them-beyond his favorite color and Jay Z song now!) The mumbling uhms would have really capped this one. I think. Going off teleprompter here could have been unprecendented.
Serious Bob Schiefer looked like he wanted another train derailment to go to, to not have to comment on this preempted one. Pelley probably leaned over before it was done and said, “I got nothing Bob. I’m not touch’n it. It’s you or a commercial break.”

onomo on September 11, 2013 at 1:06 PM

It will definitely take decades for our country to recover from all of the fundamental changes made by the buffoon, but the real problem will be educating the morons who obviously have no comprehension of the founding principles of America. (That includes voters and politicians)!

mobydutch on September 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM

O is apparently too stupid to know when he looks most stupid…

Pest on September 11, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Syria is not a signatory to the chemical weapons ban treaty. That’s why he keeps referring to ‘international NORMS‘ rather than ‘international LAW.’

Resist We Much on September 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

When you thump the opposition that hard, you should be required to offer him some ice to put on it. Do we really still believe he’s a professor?

smoothsailing on September 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Professor at a rodeo clown college?

Del Dolemonte on September 11, 2013 at 1:12 PM

As I tweeted out last night, it was a feckless and weak speech from a feckless and weak President.

Given how Obama and Kerry got pwn’ed by Putin and Assad – it’s somewhat stunning that the President still went forward with a speech that really didn’t have a purpose or a cogent / viable goal.

In the wake of the 1991 Gulf War, the focus on Saddam’s WMD was assigned to the ‘International Community’ – the United Nations. That worked out so well that on 10/10/2002, a bi-partisan majority of Congress voted to grant President Bush an Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq – naming 23 specific reasons as to why force was authorized and needed.

With a President most known for his hubris, we are repeating history with Syria and its uses of WMD against their own people – letting the ‘International Community’, led by Vladimir Putin, leader of the nation that has been arming Syria for the last 55 years, take ‘ownership’ of Syria’s WMD stocks. And this is expected to turn out differently? (Queue Einstein’s theory of insanity)

Athos on September 11, 2013 at 1:14 PM

AesopFan on September 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Excellent analysis Fan. Well done.

JusDreamin on September 11, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Elizabeth O’Bagy, the advisor to Kerry, and McCain on the Syrian rebels, HAS BEEN FIRED from the Institute For The Study of War FOR FALSELY CLAIMING THAT SHE HAS A PhD!!!

‘But, we can tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys those with legitimate credentials and those that are lying their asses off.’

- Secretary of State Lurch and Senator Insane McVain

Resist We Much on September 11, 2013 at 1:41 PM

What’s with the pillars, already?

The man has a fixation with classic architectural symbols. It only reinforces his “empty-suitedness”.

Qzsusy on September 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

I don’t know if this was posted, but I was looking for it so thot I’d post it just in case.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/text-president-obamas-speech-syria-20219757

bluefox on September 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

I just do not understand it. When Syria’s President may or may not have used chemical weapons against his citizen , we want to bomb, kill and maim 1000′s to teach them a lesson. Yet when Bill Clinton used illegal chemical weapons killing 73 men, woman and children, all US citizens on US Soil (Waco Tx.) it was OK, no fault found all involved got promoted. How can we so easily forget our own history.

jpcpt03 on September 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Obama is worthless and weak.

Shame on American voters for being this stupid twice. Once perhaps could be excused by our national good-heartedness in wanting to “get past” racism blah blah blah and the fact that McCain sabotaged his own campaign at the moment of the financial meltdown, but by last year it was evident the boy isn’t up to the job.

Obama doesn’t sit behind the Resolute Desk for speeches because it would be instantly obvious he does not belong there.

Adjoran on September 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM

It’s going to have to be figuratively razed and rebuilt at this point.

Midas on September 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Yep.
Obama is a disease, but not the fundamental problem.

Let’s look at ornamental plants in the yard, shall we?

Now, a nice healthy plant will tend to not get infected with a disease like a fungus. Or, if it does get infected, it won’t necessarily be overwhelmed by it.
A fundamentally unhealthy plant, on the other hand, will more easily get infected and die.
The best way to prevent and, to a more limited extent, treat plant disease is to maintain the vigor of the plant itself rather than pesticides, anti-fungals, etc.

See, Obama is a fungus.
If the plant (country) were healthy, he wouldn’t have been able to infect it in the first place. And even if he somehow managed to infect it the first time, the country should have been able to dispatch him before he caused lethal damage.

The old, healthy U.S.A., with its incredible work ethic, strong moral foundation, freedom and natural excellence, was an awesomely awesome tree. But now, thanks to the Left/Libs/Media, the tree itself is very, very sick, and the Fungus in Chief is able to harm it further with impunity.

justltl on September 11, 2013 at 3:48 PM

O’Reilly being absolutely stupid on Obama’s speech. The man is in the tank for Bambi.

TfromV on September 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM

O’Reilly being absolutely stupid on Obama’s speech. The man is in the tank for Bambi.

TfromV on September 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM

BOR is pretty much stupid on everything.

slickwillie2001 on September 11, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Elect a community organizer and this is what you get.

jaywemm on September 12, 2013 at 4:42 AM

The only value a speech such as this from Pres. Obama is in its ability to replace my Sleeping Rx. – only faster acting.

MSGTAS on September 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Let us NEVER forget that President Bill clinton Authroized the use of deadly chemical weapons killing woman and children in Waco Tx. How can that sit with all this?

jpcpt03 on September 12, 2013 at 10:57 PM

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