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Will Syria strike restore or hurt our credibility?


Secretary of State John Kerry made a very good speech, even a presidential-sounding speech on Syria Friday, says KIRO Radio’s John Curley. However, he neglected to answer one pretty significant question, in John’s eyes.

“I thought Kerry laid out a very compelling argument for why the United States should do something,” says Curley. “Here is the one question I have: What do we hope to accomplish, other than restoring our credibility?”

“Credibility for any national leader or for a nation has the shelf life of a tomato in September,” says Curley. “When you fight for credibility, you lose credibility. It is often a zero sum game.”

Co-host Tom Tangney thought Kerry did make a good case for why restoring credibility is important, citing the following line:

“It matters deeply to the credibility and the future interests of the United States of America and our allies. It matters because a lot of other countries, whose policy has challenged these international norms, are watching,” said Kerry.

“He says it matters far beyond Syria,” says Tom. “It matters in Iran. It matters in Hezbollah. It matters in North Korea.”

Kerry said the choices made today have great consequences.

“It matters that nearly 100 years ago in direct response to the utter horror and inhumanity of World War I that the civilized world agreed that chemical weapons should never be used again. That was the world’s resolve then. And that began nearly a century of effort to create a clear red line for the international community,” said Kerry.

Regardless, Curley is concerned about unintended consequences that might result from U.S. involvement.

“So you go in there and do a couple of pinpoint little strikes because we don’t want to put boots on the ground, and then we wait for Assad’s reaction,” says Curley. “What does Assad do when we reestablish our credibility?”

Curley says the whole country should be able to chime in on what we do here.

“Let our representatives vote on it. We the people, let the people vote on this thing. If this is an act of war or an act to establish credibility, let our legislative officials do the vote. Let’s not try to go around it by saying that somehow we need to act immediately.”

President Barack Obama met with his national security aides at the White House as they insisted he has not yet made a decision.

If there is a strike, President Barack Obama would become the first U.S. leader in three decades to attack a foreign nation without broad international support or in direct defense of Americans.

President Obama has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that use of chemical weapons in its two-year civil war would be a “red line” that would provoke a strong U.S. response.

So far, only France has indicated it would join a U.S. strike on Syria.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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