President Obama gave a silly speech in which he basically called upon the United States to do nothing about the chemical weapons used upon innocent civilians by Syria's Assad. It was a mouth full of mush after a week of watching any semblance of leadership drain from his presidency.
Then Rand Paul went on FoxNews to immediately proclaim that the president didn't convince him that America needed to use force in Syria in reaction to the chemical weapon use. But Obama didn't call for force, in fact he asked Congress to not vote on his earlier request for the use of force so as to allow some sort of brokered deal to be worked out with the help of Moscow.
So who convinced who? Or is this not about action, but about politics?
Bret Baier at FoxNews asked Rand what he would do, assuming he was talking to President Paul. Rand said he liked the premise of that question. He then went off and said what he wouldn't do, admitting that what to do was a much tougher question.
Obama said much the same thing. He had just said that the use of chemical weapons was horrible. Rand agreed. Obama said that the world is less safe when dictators get by with things like this. Rand didn't disagree.
Obama said that the interests of America and our friends in the region are threatened by instability. Rand seemed to agree, calling for greater "sta-bility".
Obama said that when men like Assad and his allies in Iran see that they can get by with using weapons of mass destruction and that the USA does nothing, that the threat of harm to us increases.
On this point Rand said he wasn't convinced. He drew the line at the notion that American engagement would have the desired result of trimming back the intentions and/or capabilities of nations like Syria and Iran to use WMD's against us or our allies. Rand said that on this point he was not convinced.
So who convinced you?
There are many reasons why we should not take military action as requested by the President against Syria. Chief among my reasons is that the commander in charge of that action doesn't have the balls to fight to win.
Many who oppose Obama's plan are still advocates of "pre-emptive strikes" when our national interests are threatened. History shows that allowing rogue leaders to "get by with" bad behavior emboldens them.
Many among us still consider America to be a Christian nation, and that we must go to the aid and assistance of those suffering human rights violations, anywhere in the world.
While Rand's form of non-interventionist foreing policy has its supporters, many Americans do not believe that we are an island unto ourselves. They see every human being as a brother or a sister, all children of one God. Liberty is not free just because it has come cheaply in our lifetime. To many foreign policy is not about our riches, it's about doing what is morally right.
But every misbehavior doesn't deserve the death penalty. And as history tells us, sure as hell we cannot merely slap the wrist of a murderous dictator and send him squealing into submission. Opposition to Obama's plan even among the more hawkish then seems to be based upon the belief that neither the commander, nor the mission itself deserves our support.
On the other hand, it is a legitimate question to ask, how much closer to nuclear weapon delivery capabilities are we going to let Iran get? Are we going to arm the Syrian rebels and help the Al Qaeda wing of that opposition to win battles in which they might acquire Assad's chemical weapons to unleash against us on some future date?
Many agree with Rand, we can't be sure who the good guys are. But for a lot of Americans the problem seeems to be that we do know who the bad guys are, we know where they are and we know that they are plotting our demise and yet we don't seem to be doing anything about them.
Where a lot of Americans will depart from Rand's philosophy is over what to do about the guys we know are bad and who are in fact threatening our interests. It seems very clear that don't need Congress to declare war in this context. We are already at war, it is an ongoing war and the enemy is Radical Islam.
Radical Islam is a political movement determined to take over the world. In that way it is no different than Hitler's National Socialist movement.
No, Radical Islam is not confined to one nation, or one national leader. It goes by many names, it is a patchwork coalition of groups fighting with terrorist tactics and guerrilla movements. And this enemy is well funded, organized, determined and undeterred by our panty waisted military efforts to date. We know who the leaders are, we know where they are, we know where they get their funding. If we want to fight THAT war, and win, a lot of frustrated Americans would say we need to get busy.
With regard to Obama's Syrian adventurism America seems to be saying no, and in their own way siding with Rand.
But as it relates to the larger war on terrorism Americans may not be as "non-interventionist" at their core as Rand might interpret our current uneasiness with Obama's plan to indicate.
In fact, on this anniversary of 9-11, when it comes to taking military action to end the threat of Radical Islam once and for all, Rand and Obama both might be surprised to find that a "silent majority" of Americans is ready to say....LET'S ROLL!