The Associated Press
The Fresno Bee: "Syrian powder keg calls for American caution"
On President Obama's watch, the civil war in Syria has escalated into a humanitarian tragedy and a conflict that could explode into a regional war.
Citing the use of chemical weapons against civilians by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the president is seeking approval from Congress to launch a limited military strike on Syria. In addition, Obama said Tuesday that "we have a broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities" of rebels attempting to overthrow Assad.
Obama's proposed response to events in Syria appear to be winning favor from Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, as both Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor pledged their support for military action. They were among congressional leaders who met with the president in the White House on Tuesday.
The president's justification for hitting Assad's strongholds with missiles is that the Syrian president must be punished for breaking the international ban against chemical warfare. But, as heinous as Assad's apparent use of chemical weapons is, Obama and Congress must also consider a multitude of factors before getting involved in Syria.
One, a few days or weeks of missile strikes will only be symbolic. Assad and his troops appear to have the upper hand against the rebels.
Two, the rebel ranks are filled with Islamists, some of them with close ties to al-Qaida. The United States must not provide arms, training and other support to rebels who haven't been thoroughly vetted by American intelligence.
Three, the Syrian civil war is a proxy war involving Shiites and Sunnis throughout the Middle East -- and it has rekindled Cold War tensions between the West and Russia.
Four, the United Nations estimates that 2 million Syrians have fled their county and another 4 million have been displaced from their homes.
We urge the president and Congress to move cautiously and to continue seeking support from allies such as Great Britain and France for a strategy that ends the suffering of Syrians and eases Middle East tensions.
President Obama's plan of limited missile strikes will accomplish little or nothing.
San Francisco Chronicle: Obama made right call on Syria
President Obama's decision to seek congressional support for a limited military strike on Syria is fraught with political and diplomatic risk. The biggest one is that an unlikely coalition of doves, skeptics, isolationists and Republicans who are simply determined to see this president fail will say no.
Still, Obama made the right call.
This represents a bold and very welcome departure from the propensity of presidents in recent history to stretch the authority of the executive branch to commit acts of war without congressional consent.
Unilateral White House decisions to engage the U.S. military in overseas conflicts have ranged from the Korean War under President Harry Truman to the 2011 NATO air campaign in Libya under Obama.
The pause for debate will require the Obama administration to make a compelling case that the trail of chemical weapons attacks leads directly to Bashar Assad's government. It also will force the president to explain how this military action serves the national interest beyond, of course, preserving the credibility of his "red line" ultimatum. He also must persuade a war-weary nation that the missile strikes won't lead to yet another American entanglement abroad.
It's almost impossible to overstate the stakes for Obama. If his request is rejected, as the British Parliament did to Prime Minister David Cameron's, it will be an enormous blow to his stature overseas and ability to move a legislative agenda at home during his final three-plus years in office.
Yet if he can make the case, tyrants everywhere will know there is a cost to inflicting such mass horror on civilians. And future occupants of the Oval Office will need to operate with a refreshed precedent to remind them that the Constitution requires them to go to Congress before unleashing the awesome instruments of war at their command.
Appeal-Democrat: "Our View: Maybe not the best ones, but still jobs:
Of course it's not the whole picture; but the latest employment figures are still encouraging . even if only slightly.
According to a Saturday report by the Appeal-Democrat's Richard Olmsted, it's local businesses that are expanding and hiring more people that are credited with driving the Sutter County unemployment rate to its lowest level in five years. That's a good sign, even if there's plenty of rough roadway yet to travel.