U.S. seeks allies on Syria, finds mistrust

President Barack Obama speaks on Syria from the President Barack Obama speaks on Syria from the White House. (Aug. 31, 2013) Photo Credit: Whitehouse.gov

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and ...

So Britain's taking a pass on Syria. Nice to have allies, huh? Now it's up to a fractured Congress to strengthen the president's hand.

With friends like these, in London and Washington, who needs frenemies? It's the Coalition of Let Me Get Back to You on That.

Sad but true: That's where we are after Afghanistan and, especially, Iraq. Our last "slam dunk" on weapons of mass destruction turned into an out-of-bounds dribble, and most of our loyal teammates ran for the showers the first chance they got.

Now, as we call "game on" again, they recall how busy they are, how overextended, how fundamentally unconvinced.

Some people say this is the price of calling wolf the last time. Others say it's reaping what we sow. By whatever name, it's defining the terms of American power in 2013.

Eventually, we may cajole some of our old allies to join in an action against Syria's murderous Assad regime. The Europeans -- thank you, France -- could lend some troops or some moral cover. The friendly Arab states, who hate the slaughterous Bashar Assad even more than we do, could toss in some petrodollars.

And the evidence, for what it's worth, does keep mounting. Syrian forces killed at least 1,429 people in a chemical attack near Damascus, Secretary of State John Kerry says.

In time, that may be convincing.

But for now, we say "trust us," and hardly anybody does.

 

TO THE RESCUE

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1. Damn the Torpedoes

2. I Want You

3. V for Victory

4. Keep Calm and Carry On

5. Maybe If Congress and the British Agree

 

ASKED AND

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THE NEWS IN SONG: Don't turn the other way: Heart's "Allies": tinyurl.com/countonem

 

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: MANUEL MORENO

You'd think that Manuel Moreno would have had enough by now: enough disaster, enough response, enough innocent lives upended in a tragic flash. But no. A retired FDNY firefighter who lives in North Babylon, he is now one of LI's most ardent Red Cross volunteers, turning up at fires, floods and other disasters here and everywhere. His trip sheet includes the Northridge (Calif.) Earthquake, the Midwest floods, TWA Flight 800, the World Trade Center on 9/11 and, of course, superstorm Sandy, a two-month gig. With hurricane season here again, he sees no good reason to stop. He sums up it all up in six simple but powerful words: "So I can serve my community."

Email Ellis@henican.com

Follow on Twitter @henican

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