President Barack Obama skillfully slowed down the rush for the United States to militarily intervene in Syria by tossing the decision to Congress.
Sure Syria crossed the “red line” that Obama had described earlier if Syria used chemical weapons on the rebels, whom it has been fighting for more than a year. Evidence of chemical weapons appears convincing enough.
But Congress once it returns Sept. 9 will have to decide whether the evidence is valid enough to merit U.S. military involvement. What no one wants is another George W. Bush weapons of mass destruction in Iraq myth.
Congress won’t want to make that mistake twice. Lawmakers also are mindful of the public’s reticence to get the United States more involved in conflicts in the Middle East. The war in Afghanistan has been going on for nearly 12 years and until it ended, the U.S. also was deeply involved in a needless war in Iraq.
Obama’s pitch to lawmakers was politically skillful because he knows that this Congress, known for so much political infighting, would have a hard time leading a line to the bathroom at an all-you-can-drink beer fest. If lawmakers are able to come together on the Syrian crisis, which has killed thousands of people, then maybe there is hope for other meaningful legislation such as fixing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which the Supreme Court gutted earlier this year.