August 27, 2013 Last Updated 8:37 am

Media beats the drums of war as U.S. and U.K. once again prepare for military action

The media once again prepared for round-the-clock coverage of war as the Obama administration, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, accused the Syrian government of the “indiscriminate slaughter of civilians.”

This morning The New York Times all but endorsed military action against Syria stating that “Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through.”

Possibly reacting to its own readers’ comments, though, the Times tried to appear less hawkish than usual. “A political agreement is still the best solution to this deadly conflict, and every effort must be made to find one. President Obama has resisted demands that he intervene militarily and in force. Though Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons surely requires a response of some kind, the arguments against deep American involvement remain as compelling as ever,” the Times editorial concluded.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, called for a wider war and the ousting of Bashar Assad from power yesterday, then followed up today with another editorial that blamed the situation on the Obama administration’s reluctance to use military force before now.

The NY Post, another Murdoch paper, surprisingly was more cautious on the subject, running no editorial about Syria, but instead publishing an op-ed urging caution.

The Washington Post, whose editorial board has been consistently hawkish and supportive of military adventures, did not disappoint. It urged military action, though it warned of a wider conflict.

“The United States can’t dictate the outcome in Syria, and it would be foolish to send ground troops in an effort to do so. But by combining military measures with training, weapons supplies and diplomacy, it could exercise considerable influence. The military measures could include destroying forces involved in chemical weapons use and elements of the Syrian air force that have been used to target civilians, as well as helping to carve out a safe zone for rebels and the civilian populations they are seeking to protect,” read the WaPo editorial.

In the U.K. Murdoch’s Times gave space for Tony Blair to write a pro-war opinion piece, declaring that “If we do not intervene to support freedom and democracy in Egypt and Syria, the Middle East faces catastrophe.”

The Guardian responded with a column by Giles Fraser who said the Times column was “vintage Tony Blair.”

“So, will somebody please explain to us how bombing Assad will make the blindest bit of difference in the grand scheme of things? Because if this is really all about our political leaders being incapable of dealing with their own impotence, then dropping bombs is not going to help,” Fraser asked.

The Telegraph was of two minds on the subject, saying that failure “to hold Mr Assad to account will encourage more of the same, intensifying the strain which refugees are already putting on Jordan and Lebanon.” But then tempering its war drums by concluding that with a somewhat softer message: “People rightly feel that something must be done. In the first instance, that wish is best met by a generous humanitarian response.”

The Independent, owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev concentrated on the Russian response in opposing military action. “Russia will be furious that the West is against plunging into the Middle East without international agreement, and just as the regime said it would allow UN inspectors access to the site in question. But even assuming Russia’s anger is contained, or that Iran can be kept out of a field in which it feels a direct strategic interest, a bigger question is what military action can now hope to achieve in Syria, where war has been raging for the best part of three years with no end in sight,” read the editorial.

Update: more newspapers…

USA Today “demands precise strike.”

The Baltimore Sun says the “U.S. has little choice but to respond forcefully to President Bashar Assad’s most recent use of chemical weapons against his own citizens.”

The Washington Examiner doesn’t write an editorial about Syria because they are too busy complaining about “Obamacare” and taxes.

Philly.com likewise is obsessed this morning with Temple’s Spring Fling canceled over booze, child porn, the workout that improves your sex life, and strippers. (One is almost tempted to smoke a cigarette and take a nap after visiting that website.)

The Boston Globe’s editorials are locked behind a paywall, so who knows what they have to say. No one else will either, so I guess that allows them to say anything they want, right?

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