America has had to make crucial decisions throughout its history. In order to make a good decision, reliable information must be gathered. Additionally, a decisive strategy must be planned and utilized. Finally, criteria must be established that shows the strategy has completed the desired results, which is called a mission objective.
The reason that we must say no to action in Syria is because none of these criteria are firmly established. Americans may understand what the president has said, but they are also correct not to believe a word of his speech. In the first 30 seconds of the speech, Obama claims to help "moderate opposition" to Assad.
The first question is who are the moderate opposition? There are no members of any moderate opposition to Assad. Rebel forces are just as extreme as Assad, especially due to reinforcements from Al-Qaeda. Since the start of the two year Syrian war, Al-Qaeda has given the most support and reinforcements to the rebels. In fact, Al-Qaeda has given them the largest amount of "boots on the ground." Therefore, it would be folly to assist either side. In trying to defeat Assad, a bad guy, America risks gift wrapping a nation to Al-Qaeda. And, America is fighting Al-Qaeda in every other country in the world, so why should we support them in Syria?
The second question is what decisive strategy will we use? Obama admits the strike will be limited against Assad; however, he says that a limited strike to punish Assad will be sufficient. The author will never question the resolve and ability of American armed forces, but it is a mistake for Obama to market these strikes as "limited". This marketing is insufficient to the task at hand and does not ensure confidence for American citizens unsure about the action that America will take. Popular support for the war would be better earned by stating that the attacks against Assad will be devastating and unrelenting to his regime. Also, the attacks must target more than stockpiles of weapons...
The third question is what is the mission objective? Obama does state that the objective is to deter Assad and other leaders from using chemical weapons; however, the objective falls short of removing Assad. Due to this tepid mission objective, Americans can't be convinced that the response will help the rebels nor will it be sufficient to make a difference in Syria. Also, Rand Paul raises a fair question as well in the Republican rebuttal. How do we know that the limited strike will not make Assad more desperate and unleash the remaining amount of his arsenal?
Rand Paul indicates that inaction in Syria allows other players to get involved like Russia. Although it is unsure whether Putin will get the weapons out of Syria, Rand Paul believes that diplomacy will more likely remove these weapons. Rand Paul made the final point correctly as well. President Obama does not have the constitutional authority to authorize this strike without congressional approval, since there is no imminent threat to America from Assad. Perhaps, a college student could side with Rand Paul and inform the befuddled Commander-in-Chief that congress authorizes such actions.
Anyhow, concerned Americans must implore congressional representatives in the House of Representatives, the peoples' house, to not succumb to actions that will not benefit America or its allies. In this conflict, America has no benefits that it will receive nor allies that it will protect. Therefore, American interests are best served if Assad and the Rebel forces "duke it out" and destroy each other...