Obama’s Stance On Syria Is One Contradiction Too Many

Sunday, September 8, 2013
By Paul Martin

SEP. 8, 2013

It will take one of the best speeches of President Barack Obama’s life on Tuesday to salvage his losing battle on Syria. Winning congressional authorization for a strike has now become the defining foreign policy issue of Obama’s second term.
With three years remaining in office, the vote will either revive his presidency or leave him rudderless.

There has been legitimate criticism of the tactics Obama has used since the Syrian government’s barbaric gas attack outside Damascus. The president should have demanded that Congress be called back from recess immediately. He should also have made a far more personal and passionate case for strikes.

But what may doom the president’s effort, in the end, is not his short-term tactics. It is years of contradictory policies by the American government and Obama himself.

As Charles Blow noted in the New York Times last week, this is the “Era of Disbelief,” where Americans don’t trust their president or Congress. Blow rightly cited Iraq as the primary cause. But a litany of other government half-truths have pushed the public’s trust in its government to record lows.

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