Talk radio update

Not much surprises me on talk radio — if conservative is defined as “a preference for the predictable” — then talk radio is even more conservative than its politics makes it sound. But I have been a little surprised at just how vehement opposition has been to attacking Syria. Sean Hannity, talk radio’s warmonger-in-chief, has just been all over it, for every imaginable reason (imaginable, that is, so long as what can be imagined reflects badly on Obama). He even had on a couple of congressmen who opposed attacking Syria because they thought we should be attacking Iran instead. Huckabee just dismissed the whole idea of attacking Syria as wacky.

Well, well. I’m damned if I know how best to deal with the Syrian mess. I have also sorts of thoughts, some of them incompatible:

1. I definitely agree that Congress, not the president, should make this call. Attacking Syria would be a clear-cut act of war, and there is no doubt who the founders thought should make decisions about going to war. If other countries complain that we look weak or slow because this process takes so long, then I would reply: So how’s your government worked out over the last couple of hundred years?

2. I support the ban on chemical weapons even though some pretty smart people point out that killing people with chemical weapons isn’t really much different from killing them with other kinds of weapons. True. But the chemical weapons ban takes one ugly weapon off the battlefield, which is at least some kind of progress. I hate to give that progress up, so some sort of retaliation appears to be in order.

3. But what? Heck if I know. The United Nations, ideally, but that pretty clearly is not going to happen. I recoil at the thought of us acting unilaterally, against the will of the people and much of Congress. Ordinary sorts of diplomatic sanctions and blockades don’t seem likely to help. Military action could boil up all sorts of unintended consequences.

4. So give me a bully pulpit and command of U.S. forces and what would I do? Probably about what Obama is doing: Make my best case to Congress, then secretly hope Congress stops me from doing anything. At least there would be the consolation of knowing that I was doing something Hannity didn’t like.

5 thoughts on “Talk radio update

  1. David,

    How about another option backed by the U.S. in the past? Get international opinion behind bringing Assad before the World Court on war crimes charges or crimes against humanity? And just so others realize (and I’m sure you know), it’s far more than the rabid right, radio shock jocks who oppose this nutso idea. I’ve read that Florida congressman Alan Grayson, who to say it mildly has drawn unmitigated scorn and disdain from Republicans in the past, is finding common cause with libertarian-leaning Republicans on this in opposing Obama. Strange bedfellows. We live in interesting times, as Jim Gransbery used to say.

    • Dennis, I don’t see how that changes anything. Assad isn’t going to quietly let himself be hauled into court. Military action would still have to be involved.

      • Agreed that it could take years to bring Assad to justice; war criminals out of the Balkan conflict were similarly tough to catch and convict. But … look at the 12-plus years we’ve been involved in Afghanistan, and the nearly 10 years it took for us to get out of Iraq. Are you saying that we’re likely to avoid those lengthy military entanglements this time? Call me highly skeptical.

  2. I don’t have any useful thoughts on Syria.

    I was watching conservative darling Ben Shapiro on c span yesterday, and he said that he believed that corporations are not creatures of capitalism, not a position often heard on the right. It was nice to hear someone speak from that perspective that wasn’t a policy robot.

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