10 Sep 2013 Black Conservatives Unimpressed, Unchanged by Obama’s Muddled Syria Speech
Washington, D.C. – With President Barack Obama trying to make the case tonight for fulfilling his red-line demands on the Syrian regime of Bashir al-Assad, members of the Project 21 black leadership network remain unconvinced that the Nobel Peace Prize-winner possesses the authority and the justification to properly handle this foreign policy nightmare of his own making.
“President Obama’s speech this evening lacked a logical reasoning for what to do about Syria even though he has declared it a national priority,” said Project 21’s Kevin Martin, a Navy veteran. “Obama sold himself in 2008 as the candidate of peace. As president — due to an obviously total lack of understanding, absence of leadership and confusion about the Syrian civil war and world politics — he justified launching a military strike that will only likely strengthen the hand of our enemies and paint us into a corner. Simultaneously, he is clutching a half-baked plan proffered by people we shouldn’t trust. Polls show Americans are overwhelmingly weary of war and see no good coming from fortifying forces whom may follow the same radical terrorists who raided our consulate and killed Americans in Libya a year ago.
As Obama prepared to make this address to the nation, major polls showed overwhelming opposition among the American people to military action against Syria, with even larger numbers of people unsure of what Obama hoped to achieve through such action. And with the possibility of the deal brokered by Russia, similar numbers of Americans polled by CNN say they don’t know if they can trust the Russians.
“While President Obama laid out a coherent argument for military action for the very first time since the Sarin attacks occurred, one very obvious point was never made: That an opportunity for a peaceful solution negates the need for America to get involved at all,” said Project 21’s Stacy Washington, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. “A true leader would do everything within his power to broker that peaceful agreement. It’s not lost on me that he tried to play to the hawks in the Republican Party, which will not work. Maintaining a strong military to protect the United States has nothing whatsoever to do with this particular request. Americans will not change their minds based on this plea from President Obama.”
Obama abruptly changed tonight’s speech from more than making the case for military action against the Syrian government to asking Congress to hold off on a resolution he once demanded to justify such action. For the short-term, he is holding out hope for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal that Syria surrender all of its chemical weapons to international authorities (a suggestion American Secretary of State John Kerry previously mentioned and then immediately dismissed as unworkable). Syrian officials are also now suggesting they will sign the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention. Putin has also said that the deal would require Obama to swear off any military action – something that Obama refused to do during his address.
“In Syria, we have a clear, unquestionable attack by a dying administration desperate to hold to a power no longer holding consent of its governed. It is unfortunate that President Obama, after repeatedly-and correctly-stating his authority to employ the American military against a clear threat, now seems to remind the nation of his self-appointed status as an anti-war president instead of taking the necessary actions of punishing those guilty of the most terrible of war crimes,” said Project 21’s Coby Dillard, a Navy veteran. “President Obama’s actions – or lack thereof – highlight the failure of modern liberalism; an ideology that believes that evil can, with the help of the international community, be asked out of existence. Trusting the Syrian leadership is no more a fool’s errand than trusting Saddam Hussein was during his repeated violations of U.N. resolutions and sanctions. In the prosecution of those who would use weapons of mass destruction, the United States is the only nation that is able to ensure these weapons are not used as first strike options or in the hands of the world’s most ruthless leaders. President Obama’s failure to act not only lessens our credibility, but dishonorable those who serve under his command.”
“Americans are not against U.S. involvement because they are minimizing the atrocities in Syria, but because they aren’t convinced of the nobility of the rebels or the virtue of their intentions,” said Project 21’s Derryck Green. “Many Americans lack faith and trust in the moral decision-making of President Obama. They still have questions regarding the Libyan debacle of just a year ago. Americans still question why Obama didn’t support the ‘Green Revolution’ in Iran in 2009. They note how the President publicly called for the removal of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in a shortsighted and naive attempt to further an ‘Arab Spring’ which only empowered the Muslim Brotherhood. Trying to be on both sides, this speech will do very little to change American hearts and minds, the politics of acting or not acting or the perception of Obama as a credible leader on the world stage. And it will not deter Bashar al-Assad from continuing his slaughter.”
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for nearly two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).