The Assad regime in Syria today agreed to cooperate in a “symbolic strike” against itself. “We understand the need for the U.S. to maintain its prestige and credibility,” said a Syrian government official, on condition of anonymity, “and if bombing some unused installation in the middle of nowhere will make them feel better, we’re willing to help.”
RIGHT: Tomahawk missile on a symbolic mission. [CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The Syrian offer came after the British parliament voted down a Syria strike and U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner asked President Obama for justification for the military action – an exceedingly rare request. The President responded with an even rarer request for Congressional authorization, which would mark the first time since WWII that Congress might get a chance to exercise its war powers.
“If the administration is going to wimp out on this,” said White House Press Secretary Jake Arney, “it wants to appear to be taking direction from Congress or possibly even the American people, without necessarily making it a habit.” Polls of public opinion and Congress show clear and consistent opposition to a military strike.
The Syrian offer therefore puts the Obama administration in an awkward position. “We appreciate the good intentions of the Syrians,” said Arney, “but we’re committed to Congressional approval. Besides, Tomahawk missiles are not cheap. We might want them for something more useful in the future.”
I decided to contact the Syrian official again for her reaction. “We understand the problem,” she said, “and we are willing to bomb the installation ourselves and let you folks take the credit – with Congressional approval, of course.”