From Wednesday’s lead editorial from the Washington Post regarding President Obama‘s address to the nation on Syria:
PRESIDENT OBAMA approached his address to the country Tuesday night in a deep political hole — one largely of his own digging. As the president and his aides have argued for a military response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, support for a strike among Americans and members of Congress has decreased. That’s largely because Mr. Obama and his administration offered stumbling, improvised and often inconsistent explanations for why military action is needed and what effect it would have. And that was before Monday’s dizzying pivot toward an ad hoc diplomatic initiative to place Syria’s arsenal under international supervision. …
His formulations remained inconsistent: While declaring that “our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used,” Mr. Obama reiterated that any military strike would be limited and would not aim at toppling the Syrian regime. The president said he had ordered U.S. forces to remain ready to act in the event diplomacy fails. But he did not explicitly reject a demand by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States forswear military action in exchange for Syria’s agreement to give up its weapons, and he asked Congress to postpone an authorizing vote.
In sum, the president’s approach to Syria remains muddled.
To be sure, the Post has been critical of Obama on the Syria front for some time now. Back in May, the paper said Obama was “weak” on Syria. And in July, it editorialized on Obama’s “extraordinary lack of leadership.”