Senator Richard Shelby’s Breathtaking Double Standard on Obama Vs. Trump Syria Attack
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) appeared on CNN’s Newsroom this morning and was pressed by hosts John Berman and Poppy Harlow on his seemingly shifting policy on supporting missile attacks on Syria.
Quick background: Over the past few years, right-of-center pundits have claimed that one of President Obama‘s biggest foreign policy failures was not following up on his “crossed a red line” threat toward Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after the dictator used chemical weapons in August of 2013.
The narrative suggests that Obama made the U.S.A look weak by not following through, which conveniently neglects the fact that the GOP-led Congress chose not to approve Obama’s request for military action in Syria. Cut to the recent missile attack under President Trump, and many of the same Republican officials who declined to support Obama’s efforts to hit Assad have now changed their tune under a GOP president.
It was in this swampy context that Sen. Shelby was confronted by the CNN hosts after he proclaimed support for the missile attack launched last night.
Why, exactly, did he not support similar action by Obama in 2013? Shelby replied by saying “Obama was weak” and “very vague on what they would do.” In the very same breath, however, Shelby also said that the Trump “administration needs to have a comprehensive plan to get rid of Assad.” When pressed even further, the Alabama Senator admitted that the Trump White House didn’t “have a (Syrian) policy yet, but they’d better have one because things are probably not going to get better in the Syria area there.”
Let’s take this all in for a moment.
Senator Shelby did not support the Obama policy in Syria because it lacked of a clear plan of action. But he is in support of the Trump-led missile attack, though he admits they have no plan, and recommends that they better have one before things get much worse in the “Syria area there.”
So yes, while this is politics as usual, and this sort of absurd double standard occurs on BOTH sides of the aisle (see Nuclear Option) it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach nor should we ignore it.
As a buddy of my from Alabama used to say when frustrated, “come on people!”
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.