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Syria Tests Credibility of President, Congress: Prof. Kevin Howley

September 11, 2013

"Speaking in reference to the prospect of U.S. military intervention in Syria at a recent press conference in Stockholm, President Obama told reporters, 'My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line, and America and Congress’s credibility is on the line,' " writes Kevin Howley, associate professor of communication at DePauw University. In an op-ed published in today's edition of Indiana's Bloomington Herald-Times, he continues, "The president got it half right. Having drawn a red line in Syria and called for air strikes in an increasingly volatile region, the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s credibility, let alone his sound judgment, has never been more suspect."

The professor adds, "Indeed, since his reelection last November, Obama’s credibility has tanked. And with good reason. On the domestic front, this summer’s revelations of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, and his administration’s assault on journalists and whistleblowers, underscore Obama’s authoritarian tendencies at home. In the international arena, Obama routinely violates international law with drone strikes across the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. In reassuring tones, Obama calls for greater transparency and accountability in domestic and international relations. And yet, with each passing day the president’s rhetoric rings hollow, revealing his mendacity at every turn."

Howley observes, "It remains to be seen if the people’s representatives in Congress will exercise their constitutional responsibilities, and in so doing reclaim a measure of credibility with a war-weary American public ... As the debate intensifies in the coming days, the credibility of the U.S. Congress hangs in the balance. Should the House refuse to support Obama’s rush to war, it would strike a blow against an Imperial Presidency that threatens world peace and undermines American democracy. It is vital, therefore, for Americans from across the political spectrum to draw a red line of their own. One that preserves the integrity of the People’s House, affirms the will of the people, and upholds the rule of law."

The full column is available to subscribers at the paper's website.

Dr. Howley is the editor of Media Interventions and Understanding Community Media and authored Community Media: People, Places, and Communication Technologies.

Source: Bloomington (Ind.) Herald-Times

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