Suave Syrian Rhetoric
Rhetoric is a very powerful tool. When used properly, it/rhetoric can make a speech about the beginning of the third World War sound like a quest to rid the world of injustice. And President Obama did just that in his September 11th address to the nation about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the progression of the civil war.
This is the thing about Presidential speeches ¾ if they appeal to the nation’s logic, you’ll find that people will start to lose trust in their government because they see for themselves the faulty logic behind the claims. Appeal to their emotions though, and you have a guilty public needing to clear their conscience through supporting the only person who they still believe that can create change.
Obama’s speech appealed directly to his audience’s emotions, and his speech lacked foundation and often times provided contradicting claims. Ironically, it left me more confused about his position on the conflict. Fortunately for him, he had his charisma and charm to mask this. Charisma is an art not all Presidents have mastered. George W. Bush still hasn’t gotten back to me on “is our children learning?”
Instead of simply taking his speech at face value, let’s take a look at some of the rhetoric Obama used in hopes of deceiving the American public into believing that he actually knows what he is talking about.
Right off the bat, Obama offers a recap of the Syrian casualties and refugees in the last two years of the civil war. He opened his speech by saying, “Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country.” 100,000 people is an extremely frightening number. He goes on to describe the gruesome images of innocent civilians in Syria, which are truly disturbing to anyone with a conscience. As an emotional appeal, this is exactly the kind of hook that sets the audience to accept whatever solution follows to solve this problem. Get an audience emotional, and they are suddenly hypnotized into thinking you have the answers because you understand the situation.
With this perfect set-up, Obama continues with a trip down memory lane to the atrocious use of chemical weapons in World War I and II. While these examples are valid, I’d like to bring another relevant example to light that the President forgot to mention. During the Iraq-Iran war in the late 1980s, chemical weapons were used by Saddam Hussein and Iraq to fight Iran. Instead of condemning chemical weapons, we aided Iraq in identifying where to strike Iranian soldiers with chemical weapons. Nepotism, coming soon to a regional conflict near you.
Antagonizing Iran seems to be a common thread in history, and presents itself somewhat disjointedly in this speech as well. Obama mentions that “A failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran ¾ which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path.”
Well, that was a big jump. While I understand that Washington has a ridiculous obsession with Iran and nuclear weapons, that doesn’t seem to be the most relevant of topics at the moment.
My favorite line in his speech, by far, would have to be when he so confidently says about the use of chemical weapons, “We know the Assad regime was responsible.” So you can’t account for the four deaths at the United States Consulate in Benghazi last year, but you can tell me for a fact that the Syrian President Assad used chemical weapons? Need I bring up Collin Powell testifying that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? I didn’t think so.
These are just a few of the many statements President Obama made that led me to question everything I know about the United States involvement in the Syrian conflict. This is why Presidents don’t employ logic in their speeches. No one wants the American people thinking for themselves. They might actually discover the truth.
And just to clear things up: yes, my last name is pronounced the same way as Bashar al-Assad. No, he is not my uncle.