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Obama’s Last Stand Against War on Syria


Obama’s Last Stand Against War on Syria

Joe Lauria

Through five years of war in Syria, President Obama has been in a constant internal struggle with hawks in his administration who want the U.S. to directly intervene militarily to overthrow the Syrian government.

On at least four occasions Obama has stood up to them, although at other times he has compromised and gone half way toward the hawkish position. Now, with less than three months to go in office, Obama appears to be leaving his Syria policy to those aligned with the lead hawk who might soon take Obama’s place.


To his eternal credit, Obama avoided war against Iran, but he made war against Yemen. He waffled on Syria but managed to focus on the Islamic State: a passing grade on tactics. However, he never articulated a clear, morally or strategically based condemnation of the pernicious concept of foreign policy based on war. He failed to invite officials who should have had the honor of their day to go to court; he failed to establish a policy of treating Mideast states according to their behavior rather than some outdated Potomac prejudice. He aggravated the tendency toward an imperial Presidency with the unconstitutional power to make war without the agreement of Congress. These enduring strategic failures add up to a failing grade on the core issue of war vs. peace..


A good article that deserved a wider readership. Its analysis does not bode well for the future under Hillary or Trump. The neoconservative influence over the USG is enormous. In my view, it cannot realistically be eliminated in the near future, but one of progressives' highest priorities must be raising the political price paid by political leaders who pursue militarist policies advocated by the neocons. This must be predicated on greater public awareness of how costly, and counterproductive to our interests, is the state of perpetual war that we find ourselves in.