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September 25, 2013

House of Burgess: Obama turns hawks to doves

President stumbles into reverse psychology.

Over time, I have come to realize I am mostly a pacifist. It takes a lot to convince me any given war is worth fighting. As our country seems to constantly be pounding away somewhere, holding this worldview can get lonesome.

So, imagine my surprise recently when a flood of conservative Republicans suddenly joined me.

“[President] Obama hasn’t come close to justifying war in Syria,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Aug. 31. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., struck a similar note on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sept. 1. “What I would ask John Kerry is … how can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake?” Paul said.

GOP support for the Obama request to Congress for permission to bomb Syria subsequently seemed almost nonexistent. “Several Republican leadership aides … say that there are roughly one to two dozen ‘yes’ votes in favor of military action at this time,” reported Politico’s John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman Sept. 5.

I began to feel like Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who, during a March 2010 House Armed Services hearing, voiced concerns to Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, about Guam’s ability to remain seaworthy. Willard was answering Johnson’s queries regarding a proposed military installation on the island when a novel concern was expressed. “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated it will tip over and capsize,” said Johnson. Willard reassured him. “Uh, we don’t anticipate that,” he said.

Similarly, I feel like a resident of a previously sparsely populated island of peace-lovers that has suddenly become overrun with new arrivals. I too worry my formerly lonely island is about to go end-over-end from the sudden burden.

Alas, I know this shift is fleeting. We’ve come to the same conclusion for very different reasons.

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