How We Declared War On Syria (Or Didn't)

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I think no current issue showcases the absolute dysfunction of American politics than Syria.
Before we continue, let us just admit that Syria’s a shit sandwich.  Each side appears to be happy to slaughter thousands of Syrians, and neither side appears to love America.  If we invade unilaterally, our best hope of war seems to be some kind of Iraq-style situation where we commit enough troops to basically sit on a powderkeg and hope we starve the fire of oxygen: expensive, bloodier than we’d like, and probably causing a lot of festering resentment at the US of A.  If we don’t go in, then we send the message that hey, maybe chemical weapons are back on the table, and every war from now on becomes even more horrific.  Plus, we basically say, “Hey, if you guys wanna commit atrocities on each other, that’s none of our business!”
No matter what we do, it sucks.  Can we just acknowledge this as adults?  That literally no matter what Obama or the Republicans chose to do, it would have ugly costs that nobody wanted?
Thank you.
But the thing that strikes me about Syria is that we don’t even know what our own politicians want.  I’ve heard Obama being called another bloodthirsty warmonger and a man with secret hopes of peace.  He went to Congress to get authorization to go to war, but we all know Congress couldn’t zip its fly after dribbling pee down its pants.
Was that the act of a man hoping to hand his war plans to a Congress he fully expected to bobble it, so he could tell the world, “Well, I wanted to go to war but they said no?”  Was it a man who was hoping to call Republicans out, forcing them to see the gravity of the situation so they’d have to stop dicking around for FOX news and vote rationally?  Was it a man who, unable to carry out his war-crazed agenda on a war-weary public, reluctantly shuffled off to Congress in a last-ditch effort to get the missiles flying?
We have hit the point in American politics where we can tell you precisely what our politicians are doing, but can’t even formulate a consistent theory as to why.  Motivations have ceased to exist in the ridiculous Crossfire wind where existing biases and relentless 24/7 coverage has obscured any hope of understanding why anyone did anything.
And then Syria caved?  Or did they?  Is it a delaying tactic inspired by Russia?  What the hell.
I’m not saying politics is simple: it’s always been hard discerning someone’s true motivations.  But this is the first time I can recall a President has asked for authorization to go to war and there’s a very reasonable case to be made that he does not in fact want to go to war, that he’s counting on a dysfunctional Congress to fuck it up so he doesn’t have to.  This could well be the moral equivalent of the husband who hates doing laundry, so he does a load where the whites all emerge pink and the wife sighs, “Oh, for God’s sake, forget it.”
How much does Obama want war?  Fuck if I know.  And I don’t think anyone has a clear opinion on that except for Obama, and maybe not even him.

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