September 9, 2013
By John Zogby
"Mr. President. I have been doing a lot of thinking about your term project on Syria. When you first approached me about the topic, you said that a president of the U.S. had no good options. The U.S. cannot topple Syrian President Assad because there would be more chaos in the country and the region – like Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan (not to mention Yemen and Tunisia).
While there was pressure from congressional hawks to help the rebels, you were saying that the rebels could be dangerous and inimical to the U.S. and regional interests. You were then arguing that the U.S. involvement would bring no positive gain.
Then you suggested that the U.S. must arm the 'good' rebels, without clarifying who they were and what you meant by 'help.' In the last few weeks, your term paper shifted its thesis to backing a limited surgical intervention to send a strong moral message to Assad and the world that we (citizens of the world) could not tolerate the use of chemical weapons, especially against the most innocent of victims. You said that humanity was on your side. But then the Arab League, while condemning the alleged actions of Assad's forces, refused to join a grand coalition. Neither would Saudi Arabia, although neither would mind it if we did something. But then, our oldest cousin, the United Kingdom, absolutely refused to go along.
You suggested that the U.S. should change course and leave it up to Congress. But now that your administration is talking about regime change, arguing that all options are on the table (including the possibility of U.S. troops on the ground), and that the U.S. action could topple Assad. And now it is because that's what Israel wants and what Saudi Arabia will pay for.
Mr. President: You have not done your history readings, you have changed your topic and your thesis, and you have not only confused me – you have made me depressed. Please change your topic. This one just isn't working."
Grade – F