Christopher Ruddy’s Perspective: President Obama's speech to the nation reminded me of the other best speech he gave, that one was in Oslo, Norway.
Back in 2009, accepting the Nobel Prize, the new president offered some surprising remarks. While acknowledging the virtues of nonviolence as preached by the likes of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, he reaffirmed that the powerful cannot sit by idly in the face of evil. Evil doers, as Obama noted then, must be confronted, even with the use of military force. He cited World War II and the necessity of force to stop and defeat Hitler.
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His comments then were sensible. As Americans we prefer not to use force, but we do so, to paraphrase the great statesman Edmund Burke, because we know that evil triumphs when good people sit back and do nothing.
Tonight the president offered a justified response to evil.
He reiterated some of the key points I made in my recent column on Newsmax.
First, the U.S. must lead the world in setting a zero tolerance policy for the use of weapons of mass destruction. Nations and terror groups around the world are racing to acquire, develop, and yes, potentially detonate, such biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
The president is so right when he says a failure to respond swiftly and decisively now poses a danger to Americans — and everyone else — in the future. We cannot be callous to what happened in Syria today.
Second, Iran wins if we do not respond. Iran has been the Assad regime's most significant backer. Iran is also on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. Their leaders have also vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and to destroy the "Great Satan."
Iran knows that if the world becomes desensitized to WMDs in Syria, they move ever closer to their goal of developing thermonuclear weapons.
It is not surprising then that Israel has supported an American action against Syria.
The president's plan, as he outlined tonight, is straight-forward -- no use of American ground troops and limited strikes on military targets only during a short duration.
Even without ordering strikes, Obama's position on Syria has forced the world to pay attention to the use of WMDs and to consider the consequences. Russia is moving to press Syria to compromise. I also saw a very worried look on Bashar Assad's face during his interview with Charlie Rose.
A UN deal may be agreed to soon. Success may be achieved here without ever firing a shot.
The more resolve we show as a nation in supporting a response to Syria's atrocity, the more likelihood war will be avoided. Wasn't that the lesson of the 1930s?
I realize the president's position, and the public's response to him, wasn't created in a vacuum. Great political baggage surrounds the president, which he alluded to in his speech when referring to the right and left.
The right doesn't trust Obama, so they don't want him to act militarily. The left detested the war on terror, and see this as an extension of that war.
I thought president Obama would mention Sept. 11, especially since he was giving his speech on the anniversary of that day of infamy. Obviously his staff must have discussed the reference and decided not to use it — probably because the left believes president Bush used it as a pretext for unnecessary wars.
In my view, both the left and right are being prejudiced by the past and not thinking with a clear head about today and the future.
During the 1930s, bad memories about World War I prevented the great democracies from acting early and in concert to stop fascism at an early stage.
On the right, one can still oppose Obama on many issues — as I do — but support the president on a military strike in this case. On the left, one can still hold strong to their opposition to the war in Iraq, but support a limited action to punish the Assad regime for their particularly heinous act.
I realize I may not persuade one person with this column, so strongly held are views here.
But one thing I do admire about Obama today is that he is sticking to his guns and, despite overwhelming opposition from the public and even the world community, is making a stand for what he believes is right.
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Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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