Power Line debates Syria, a recap

It’s all over but the non-shooting when it comes to a U.S. attack on Syria in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. At this point, the Power Line crew is unanimous in believing (1) that the resolution of the matter, via the intervention of Vladimir Putin, is phony and (2) that President Obama badly mishandled the matter.

But prior to Putin’s gambit, Power Line was not unanimous about Syria. And that represents something new. To be sure, we have disagreed before, typically about tactics. But this was the first disagreement I can recall about a burning policy issue.

Power Line split 3-1 in favor of not authorizing Obama to attack Syria. I was the “1.” My reasons for favoring an attack that would “degrade” Assad’s chemical weapons — the attack in favor of which John Kerry lobbied Congress — can be found here, among other places.

John came out early against an attack. He made his case here. Steve and I both added comments. Steve agreed with John’s conclusion, but found more merit than John in the idea of an attack. The same was true, if recall correctly, during a podcast Steve did with John.

Scott initially was ambivalent about whether we should attack Syria. Ultimately, however, he concluded, not without provocation, that Obama and his “Gang of Nitwits” should not be entrusted with that mission, as they conceived it.

The debate here at Power Line was civil, as our long-time readers would, I think, expect. And each of us at one time or another acknowledged that there were decent arguments on both sides.

We also avoided extended exchanges, as we have always done. If I recall correctly, the only back-and-forth that went beyond one comment per person was this one between me and John about chemical weapons as a rationale for intervention.

My respect for my Power Line colleagues is such that I don’t think I’ll ever be completely comfortable taking a position with which John, Scott, and Steve all disagree. But I’m quite comfortable with the fact that Power Line will not always take unanimous positions on the big questions.

If, however, we start to disagree on a regular basis, it will constitute additional evidence of the serious cracks that have appeared in the conservative movement.


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