Five Best Wednesday Columns
Republican Congressmen Mike Pompeo and Tom Cotton support a strike on Syria, Karl Vick argues Iran could be the key to Syrian diplomacy, Amy Davidson on the administration's lack of a clear plan in Syria, Brian Costello defends Jets coach Rex Ryan for putting family over work, and Amy Webb explains why she keeps her daughter off of social media.
Mike Pompeo and Tom Cotton in The Washington Post in support of a strike on Syria Pompeo and Cotton, both House Republicans and Army veterans, throw their support behind a military strike against Syria in retaliation of its alleged use of chemical weapons. "Inaction will tell Assad, Kim Jong Un and others that it’s open season for the use of chemical weapons," they write, and add that American interests are heavily at stake here. They still have their doubts about Obama's proposed strategy, but add, "Congress shouldn’t guarantee a bad outcome for our country because of fears that the president will execute an imperfect military campaign," they argue. "Thoughtful argument for intervention from Reps. Mike Pompeo and Tom Cotton," tweets Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Bloomberg View. "Support building for Syria resolution. Will this clear the way for a more punishing military campaign?" asks David Gregory, host of NBC's Meet the Press.
Karl Vick at Time on Iran's diplomatic role in Syria Iran's terrible experience with chemical weapons attacks during their 1980-88 war against Iraq may make Iran the key to a diplomatic solution with Syria. "If, as a crucial ally of Assad, Tehran can help coax the Syrian dictator to amend his behavior — perhaps by a dramatic gesture such as surrendering its stockpiles of WMDs to a third party, like Russia — the implications would be immense," Vick writes. Iran's leaders are undecided on any action and are skeptical of the U.S., but its disgust with chemical weapons could override those to reign in Syria's regime. "Very interesting analysis," tweets Bloomberg News reporter Tom Lasseter. "Take a look at this piece by Time's @Karl_Vick," tweets CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson.
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker on the lack of a clear plan for Syria The Senate Committee hearings on Syria yesterday featuring Secretary of State John Kerry showed a troubling lack of a clear military plan on the part of the Obama Administration, Davidson argues. "If it was a piece of theatre, it was one clearly still in workshop, with only the roughest notion of how the last act would end — or even how its authors wanted it to end, and what the basic motivations of the characters might be," Davidson writes. "If there is one thing that the hearings are showing, it is that the Administration has a great deal of work to do in constructing the strategic and logical framework for military action." Abbie Fielding-Smith, a Lebanon-based correspondent for the Financial Times, tweets, "Owch. Good NYer piece on Syria senate hearing." Toby C. Jones, a Harvard professor on Middle Eastern history, writes, "Should be your first read this morning."
Brian Costello in the New York Post defends Rex Ryan for putting family ahead work Embattled New York Jets coach Rex Ryan took some criticism for skipping the final day of team cuts to attend his 19-year-old son's first college football game, but that criticism is "laughable," Costello writes. "It’s easy to criticize Ryan if you’ve never had to choose who to let down — your boss or your wife. It’s easy to criticize Ryan if you’ve never had to tell your kids 'good night' over the phone while away on business." Ryan put the importance of family first and he should be applauded, not derided, Costello argues, and many other sports reporters agreed. "Criticizing Rex Ryan for visiting his kid was nonsense. Costello nails it," writes Sports Illustrated writer and editor Richard Deitsch. "Excellent much-needed perspective," writes NFL.com columnist Judy Battista.
Amy Webb at Slate on why she posts nothing online about her daughter One of Webb's friends puts pictures and stories of her child all over the Internet, a catalogue of their daughter's digital life that could come back to haunt her down the road. "With every status update, YouTube video, and birthday blog post, Kate’s parents are preventing her from any hope of future anonymity," Webb writes, and suggests instead her own family's approach with social media. "We decided that we would never post any photos or other personally identifying information about her online," Webb writes of her own daughter. "Very interesting," writes Marissa Nelson, the senior director of digital media for CBC News & Centres, but Robb Montgomery, a consultant on online privacy concerns for media organizations, tweets that it's a bit unnecessary: "Privacy is the power to reveal yourself. My kids are teens and have no SM accounts. Not sure infants need SM accounts," he writes. For a counterpoint to Webb, see Joe Coscarelli at Daily Intel, who has a feature this morning on why media types such as the Today show's Jenna Wolfe and CNBC's John Carney create and write Twitter accounts for their children.