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Obama’s War In Syria Finding Few Supporters

Despite rhetoric that invoked terrorism and threats to the “homeland,” President Barack Obama has found little support for his unilateral decision to enter America into a war in Syria. Either the magic of saying “terrorism” has worn off or the public just does not believe this president when he says it. Regardless, the bombing in Syria has led to traditional war cheerleaders to stay silent or even voice opposition.

The New York Times, a publication instrumental in misleading the American public on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, launched a scathing editorial against both Obama’s plans (or lack therefore) and the failure to receive congressional authorization. Obama has tried to legally justify his actions by citing a 2001 law passed right after the 9/11 attacks to fight Al Qaeda and the 2002 Iraq War authorization. Nothing passed in this decade or at all related to ISIS or Syria, let alone the Khorasan Group.

And there is also the issue of President Obama’s communication strategy that seems to be confusing more than anything else.

The military action early Tuesday was quite different from what Mr. Obama explained in a televised speech on Sept. 10. For months the administration has focused on the ISIS threat, yet these strikes also targeted Khorasan, a group the government says is linked to Al Qaeda and engaged in “active plotting that posed an imminent threat to the United States and potentially our allies.”

It is puzzling that Mr. Obama would address the nation on a terrorist threat and not mention the group that officials now say poses an imminent threat to the United States, which ISIS does not. They say they kept details about Khorasan secret so the group would not know it was being tracked. But past threats, including Osama bin Laden, were discussed openly even as they were tracked.

Lots of misdirection, omissions, and secrecy – not a great way to build public trust for a war. But beyond the highly flawed communication strategy is the plan itself which involves training and arming so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels – who now have a non-aggression pact with ISIS to fight Assad.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Obama’s War In Syria Finding Few Supporters

Despite rhetoric that invoked terrorism and threats to the “homeland,” President Barack Obama has found little support for his unilateral decision to enter America into a war in Syria. Either the magic of saying “terrorism” has worn off or the public just does not believe this president when he says it. Regardless, the bombing in Syria has led to traditional war cheerleaders to stay silent or even voice opposition.

The New York Times, a publication instrumental in misleading the American public on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, launched a scathing editorial against both Obama’s plans  (or lack therefore) and the failure to receive congressional authorization. Obama has tried to legally justify his actions by citing a 2001 law passed right after the 9/11 attacks to fight Al Qaeda and the 2002 Iraq War authorization. Nothing passed in this decade or at all related to ISIS or Syria, let alone the Khorasan Group.

And there is also the issue of President Obama’s communication strategy that seems to be confusing more than anything else.

The military action early Tuesday was quite different from what Mr. Obama explained in a televised speech on Sept. 10. For months the administration has focused on the ISIS threat, yet these strikes also targeted Khorasan, a group the government says is linked to Al Qaeda and engaged in “active plotting that posed an imminent threat to the United States and potentially our allies.”

It is puzzling that Mr. Obama would address the nation on a terrorist threat and not mention the group that officials now say poses an imminent threat to the United States, which ISIS does not. They say they kept details about Khorasan secret so the group would not know it was being tracked. But past threats, including Osama bin Laden, were discussed openly even as they were tracked.

Lots of misdirection, omissions, and secrecy – not a great way to build public trust for a war. But beyond the highly flawed communication strategy is the plan itself which involves training and arming so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels – who now have a non-aggression pact with ISIS to fight Assad.

Combine the incompetence with the dishonesty and a refusal to disclose how much this war will cost and the differences between the Obama foreign policy and the Bush foreign policy seems to be limited to not wanting to put in ground troops, for now. Not much of a change at all from the disastrous military adventurism that propelled Obama into the White House by promising the American people a different way forward.

So even when Americans affirmatively vote against military adventurism they get military adventurism. It seems some things are really not up for debate in what used to be a republic.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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