Speaking at a press conference today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama claimed the reports of an imminent US attack on Syria were not false, but “exaggerated,” though he refused to discuss specifics about his administration’s plans.
Obama went on to insist that the goals of the intervention, whatever form it will eventually take, were to “end a war,” and he insisted that the US was not ready to launch attacks.
Yet at the same time, there seems to be considerable appetite within his administration to launch such a war, and the goal seems primarily to be convincing the American public that this war will be at least a little less disastrous than the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Likewise, while Obama says the goal is to “end a war,” his administration has repeatedly confirmed that their primary goal in Syria is regime change, and the efforts to start throwing weapons at the Syrian rebels are aimed plainly at prolonging the conflict, coming after the rebels had suffered some defeats. In the long run the ideal for the administration is regime change without occupation, but with Senators pushing for immediate attacks on the argument that regime change can only be accomplished through direct action, it is unclear at best if the administration will stop with simply arming the Islamist rebels.