Historien om hvordan Barack Obama kom på å søke Kongressen om godkjenning for et Syria-angrep, er historien om en president som nøler, tviler og vakler.
Presidenten hadde opprinnelig bestemt seg for å slå til. Hans medarbeidere søkte ut etter støtte blant allierte, og Pentagon trakk sammen flåtestyrker. Men så led David Cameron nederlag i Parlamentet. Dagen etter kom Obama i tvil. Han ville ha ryggdekning fra Kongressen.
Avgjørelsen var omstridt i hans egen stab, og noen har lekket prosessen til huffington post. Fordi han nølte mistet Obama momentum, og han ble offer for omstendighetene. Derfor er han der han er nå, hvor Vladimir Putin fremstår som redningsmann.
Lørdag 24. august, tre dager etter gassangrepet, holdt Obama møte med sine medarbeidere, og det var enighet om at USA måtte svare. Umiddelbart.
By the time Obama’s National Security Council met a week ago Saturday, a few days after the attack, it was clear the intelligence the U.S. had gathered corroborated the notion that a chemical attack had resulted in dramatic mass casualties, officials said. All the officials in this report demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the president’s decision-making by name.
As the meeting opened, Obama told his advisers the attack outside Damascus was precisely the type of scenario he had been concerned about last year, when he said Assad’s large-scale use of chemical weapons would cross a red line for the U.S. and necessitate a response. Obama hadn’t made a final decision, officials said, but he told aides his strong inclination was the U.S. must act.
By the end of the meeting, aides were no longer discussing whether to respond, but how and when.
I den påfølgende uken mobiliserer Team Obama for å slå til mot Assad. Obama sier offentlig at de har ugjendrivelige bevis for at Assad brukte gass.
Men det kommer som en stor overraskelse at Cameron lider nederlag.
Kongress-ledere hadde bedt om de ble hørt. Men Obamas nasjonale sikkerhetsteam var av den mening at de ikke trengte noen godkjennelse fra Kongressen.
Plutselig var det det sjefen selv foreslo.
All that changed Friday night, when Obama left the West Wing with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough. Under cloudy skies and temperatures nearing 90 degrees, the two walked on the White House grounds for the better part of an hour, and Obama confided in his adviser that he had changed his mind. He laid out an idea to ask Congress to approve a strike.
By 7 p.m., top aides including deputy national security advisers Ben Rhodes and Tony Blinken had been summoned to the Oval Office, where Obama shared the new plan. It was the right thing to do, the president said, and would make the U.S. stronger.
Aides went to work immediately, with some drafting an authorization that Congress could take up and others hashing out the timeline.
But the next morning, there was pushback from some on the president’s team. The National Security Council convened Saturday to firm up the plan, with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, national security adviser Susan Rice and others in attendance.
When Obama said he wanted to ask Congress for a vote, some of his advisers dissented. Officials wouldn’t say which participants argued against Obama’s proposal.
After a two-hour debate, Obama’s team agreed to support Obama’s decision, officials said. So Obama went upstairs and called the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate to inform them of his about-face. He also notified French President Francois Hollande.
Når man hører bakgrunnen for beslutningen forstår man at det var et uttrykk for Obamas tvil. Han nølte, var redd for å anvende USAs overveldende makt.
Det kan komme til å koste ham hans ry og status som president.