Obama Makes Serious Mistake on Syria Airstrikes
New York Times says it's a major escalation that needs debate in Congress
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2014 12:55 PM CDT
This still image made from video released by the U.S. Central Command on Tuesday shows a US airstrike in Tall Al Qitar, Syria.   (AP Photo/US Central Command)

(Newser) – The New York Times editorial board thinks President Obama has the US blundering into a new war with the expanded airstrikes in Syria. Before the US gets any deeper into the operation, the president should open this up for a full debate in Congress, says the editorial. It's also "puzzling" that in preparing the nation on Sept. 10 for these airstrikes, Obama said nothing about the Khorasan group that is suddenly Public Enemy No. 1. "There isn’t a full picture—because Mr. Obama has not provided one—of how this bombing campaign will degrade the extremist groups without unleashing unforeseen consequences in a violent and volatile region," says the editorial. "In the absence of public understanding or discussion and a coherent plan, the strikes in Syria were a bad decision."

  • Agree: The airstrikes are a "major reversal" for a president who opposed intervention in Syria for so long, writes the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. Can we trust that he won't reverse himself on ground troops, too? Yes, ISIS and the Khorasan group pose threats to US interests, "but is the threat serious enough to justify an ever-escalating role for the US military in Syria and Iraq?" asks the editorial. "Does the US have a clear strategy and achievable aims? The case has yet to be made."
  • Disagree: The Wall Street Journal editorial board not only applauds the airstrikes but thinks US ground troops should be ready to move quickly. If the mission is to succeed, and it must, they'll be needed to direct airstrikes as militants hide in populated areas. "No US President should ever start a war he doesn't intend to win, and wars rarely go as smoothly as advertised in advance," concludes the editorial. "Now that he has attacked ISIS, Mr. Obama must show that America is the strong horse."