Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

Sneak Attack

I once watched Tiger Woods stop his golf swing a nanosecond before hitting the ball because a spectator had clicked his camera. Woods swings at 128 miles-per-hour, so his back-wrenching reverse was mind-boggling to watch – much like Barack Obama’s back-wrenching reverse on Syria. First, contrary to all theories of the importance of surprise, Obama declares we will attack Syria. He’s a little fuzzy on why – take “a shot across Assad’s bow”? Salvage America’s “credibility”? Reinforce the “red line” against gas? Send a proxy message to Iran? But he’s clear the missiles are coming. Then he pulls the rug out from under everyone, particularly John Kerry, by announcing he will submit the question to Congress, which (a) is on vacation and (b) hasn’t passed any meaningful legislation in years. Yet, with this stroke of inadvertent brilliance, Obama restored the Constitution – which gives Congress the sole power “to declare war” – and placed Congress in a pickle. For how can they shut down the government if they are simultaneously going to declare war? I believe that internationalism and human rights should be foundations of American foreign policy, and there is horrific suffering in Syria. But I don’t see what sending missiles to enforce rules of civilized slaughter in a war in which the good guys may well be worse than the bad guys will accomplish, beyond escalating the carnage. Congress has not declared war since 1941, an interval filled with disastrous efforts to impose American values at the point of a gun.

It’s Only a Phrase

A Fable