Nevertheless, the president has committed his administration to transparency, to debate and to trusting the judgment of the people.
The second task facing the president is connecting action in Syria – any action, but specifically military action – to our core values as a nation. Thus: "We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us."
That is a given. It's one of those commonplaces that still needs repeating. But "the values that define us" still need to be spelled out. And President Obama did: "…we believe that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations."
We have spelled out those responsibilities in our treasured documents and through our national debates, both crafted over decades. And though "we aren't perfect," as the president said, "this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities." As a result, "we lead with the belief that right makes might – not the other way around."
But gathering support abroad will not be easy, as evidenced by the decision of the British Parliament.
Having John Kerry as Secretary of State, will help. He is a decorated veteran, knows war first-hand, opposed the Vietnam, and later the Iraq, wars, and has earned the respect of his counterparts and of heads of states abroad.
British Prime Minister David Cameron may be right, that the Iraq War has "poisoned the well" of public opinion against intervention in the Middle East.– in America as well as Britain. The antidote to the deceit that poisoned the well is honesty and transparency.
And to those who ask, "why should we get involved," I can only answer, "if gassing hundreds of children is not your red line, then what is?"
Donna Brazile is an ABC News consultant.