Mr. Obama’s ap­proach to Syria

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

A cou­ple of years ago, my grand­son’s bar mitz­vah theme was “Don’t re­main in­dif­fer­ent.” It is a theme that res­onated when I read Richard Co­hen’s spot-on col­umn about Pres­i­dent Obama’s stead­fast un­will­ing­ness — with lame ex­cuses along the way — to face up to the Syr­ian blood­bath and refugee cri­sis [“Look­ing the other way,” op-ed, Feb. 12]. It is a painful re­minder of how po­lit­i­cal op­por­tunism, rather than lead­er­ship, can morph into in­dif­fer­ence.

In the late 1930s, the State De­part­ment (with FDR sim­i­larly look­ing the other way) sided with iso­la­tion­ist leg­is­la­tors to bar the im­mi­gra­tion of 20,000 unac­com­pa­nied refugee chil­dren. Among the ob­jec­tions that State De­part­ment wit­nesses cited to con­gres­sional com­mit­tees was that pro­cess­ing the asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions would over­whelm overseas con­sular per­son­nel.

Bri­tain’s con­cur­rent de­ci­sion to waive im­mi­gra­tion re­quire­ments for 10,000 chil­dren (my­self in­cluded) serves as a pretty good ex­am­ple of not re­main­ing in­dif­fer­ent.

In re­ject­ing, say, a Syr­ian no-fly-zone, the pres­i­dent un­for­tu­nately seemed to re­main in­dif­fer­ent.

Joel Darm­stadter, Bethesda

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Syria pol­icy seems clev­erly de­signed to en­sure that, no mat­ter who wins, they won’t like us.

Barry Crick­mer, Winch­ester, Va.

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