Emil Guillermo: On Obama's bombing of Syria and our "non-war" war
September 23, 2014 1:37 PM
Forty-seven tomahawk cruise missiles in fighter bombers were sent to bomb 14 targets in Syria, the Department of Defense told NBC and other news media, which this morning released a DOD tape of some of the action.
And now you can go about your business. Everyone else seems to be.
Members of Congress, too busy thinking of upcoming midterm elections, are very willing to let Syria be the president's problem. On executive action on immigration, they might fight him until he turns all the way white.
But bombing Syria? Pass.
Meanwhile, the president is on to New York, trying to secure Iraqi support and build his coalition among world leaders at the UN.
Bombing is a little political show business. It shows some strength, semi-resolve even. But mostly, it buys the president time. It doesn't stop ISIL/ISIS. It doesn't make them go away. Indeed, bombing only angers them, and all others who harbor anti-western sentiments.
That's why bombing ultimately doesn't work.
And make no mistake, even if the War Powers Act was ignored, the airstrikes are an act of war, with real American lives are at stake. We've just started our "non-war" war.
Whatever you want to call it, the president in his statement on the White House lawn this morning acknowledged this was no drone attack. Real Americans were flying those fighter jets. The president thanked the pilots who flew the mission for their "courage and professionalism."
But what of the politicians? Where is their "courage and professionalism" when we really need a little?
Is bombing really the only answer?
Just for good measure, the president mentioned one other factor in these strikes: the Khorasan Group, which is not a law firm but a gang of Al-Qaeda terrorists that Obama said was about to inflict some kind of unidentified threat against the U.S. and the west.
And on that say so, it was bombs away.
As the president reminded: "America is always stronger when we stand united and that unity sends a powerful message to the world that we will do whatever is necessary to defend our country."
Even before anything has really happened. Lawyers can preempt bad jurors. Hard to preempt war with war. Indeed, you've preempted nothing. You've started a war.
The president has a starting five in his coalition that includes Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. (Admittedly, it was more impressive than when George W. Bush announced that his coalition included the Philippines.)
Obama also mentioned bipartisan majorities at home that include such strange bedfellows as Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla) on the Senate side. Even House leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) could get together on this.
Why not? This ain't no government shutdown. It's a costly terrorist takedown.
Surely, we will have to have that debate--not just the one we had on funding the Syrian rebels who could turn against us, but on the War Powers Act. Congress and the president have successfully avoided that for now.
But somehow, I think after a round--or two or three--of bombings, there won't be much of a question.
By then, ISIS/ISIL will already be committed to a 2,000-year war. Maybe a 3,000-year war. The enemies here have long memories.
And then there will be no other answer for Washington, as all the remaining political pros and lame ducks finally gather to officially debate the war we're already in.
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