I think Obama taking the issue of military action to Congress is a convenient delaying tactic. It allows people who are opposed to intervention to
believe that democracy has prevailed, yet it also gives the UN inspectors more time to complete their analysis of the samples they took. They will
most certainly come back and say chemical weapons were used (but not who used them). If these results come back before Congress's vote (which seems
very unlikely, as the UN said it could take around three weeks) it will add to the pressure to do something.
In the meantime I think there is a possibility of another chemical attack, which will be highly disputed, but the west will immediately blame it on
the Assad regime. The media will be in propaganda overdrive trying to swing American public opinion towards intervention. They are already saying an
attack will embolden Assad.
On a more sinister note, the only way I believe American public opinion could be decisively changed is if there was an attack against American assets,
possibly even a terrorist attack. Although such an attack would be mightily convenient for the government, such an attack would galvanize the American
people particularly as the 9/11 anniversary is fast approaching. It would also alter the situation in the UK where the decision to oppose intervention
would probably be reconsidered with the government arguing that after this terrible attack action must be taken etc.
I will be very surprised if Congress vote against military action. Can anybody remember any time when Congress did reject military action? Usually
such moments calling for Congressional support were based on highly emotive events or direct attacks against the U.S, for example the
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
, which was opposed in the Senate only by Senators
and Ernest Gruening
Gulf of Tonkin Incidents
which were actually two separate confrontations on August 2nd
and August 4th 1964 were later concluded to be "false flag" attacks.
A 2005 study by the NSA concluded of the August 2nd incident:
At 1505G, Captain Herrick ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox
fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the
Vietnamese boats fired first.
and of August 4th:
It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night. [...] In truth, Hanoi's navy was
engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2
Similarly Barbara Lee
was the only member of Congress to vote against the
authorization to use force against Afghanistan. She told colleagues
“careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target.”
There has been a tradition of such opposition throughout American history from the war of 1812 to the present, but they are usually voices crying in
Against U.S. entry into World War I, Republican Sen. George Norris of Nebraska asked, “To whom does this war bring prosperity? Not to the
soldier … not to the brokenhearted widow … not to the mother who weeps at the death of her baby boy … . War brings no prosperity to the great
mass of common and patriotic citizens … .War brings prosperity to the stock gambler on Wall Street.”
Any intervention into Syria will exacerbate the already dire refugee crisis and play straight into the hands of Al Qaeda.
Just my thoughts. Hopefully they turn out to be untrue...