(NEWSER– President Obama's Syria speech last nightwas only 15 minutes long, but it "will be analyzed for a LOT longer than that," writes Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post. But—because Congress isn't onboard with a strike on Syria and we don't yet know how Russia's plan to get Syria's chemical weapons will turn out—"there really wasn't much definitive the president could say," Cillizza writes. "And, he didn't. This was a holding pattern speech." It was also an "odd" one, writes fellow Post columnist Ezra Klein. Obama "had to make the case for war the administration was seeking on Sunday even as [he] pivoted towards the diplomatic solution the administration lucked into on Monday." More reactions:

  • Shibley Telhami, writing at Politico, offers up nine examples of weak arguments Obama made—including that inaction sends terrorists the message that they can use chemical weapons with no consequences. But "terrorist groups don’t care about international norms ... the only thing preventing al-Qaeda from using WMD against its enemies is its lack of WMD."
  • On Twitter, Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg points out another contradiction: "After two years of saying Assad should go, the message now is Assad can stay. We just want to take away one of his weapons systems." There's more where that came from.

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