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The Hiller Instinct

President Obama's speech on Syria

BOSTON (WHDH) -- You know the old saying: "If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it still make a sound?"

Well, Tuesday night, a new twist: "If a president makes a speech about a military strike, but no one thinks there's going to be a strike anytime soon, does the speech still make a sound?"

Not to me.

By the time the president addressed the nation Tuesday night, his when-not-if missile attack on Syria was already on hold as the world waits to see what happens to the proposal that Syria turn over its chemical weapons to international control.

So the original purpose of his speech: to prepare Americans for an attack on Syria at any moment, and to convince Congress to support it, had lost its immediacy.

Thanks to recent diplomatic developments, the president has more time, and so do we.

But with no immediate action likely, all the president had left to talk about was why Americans and Congress should support a military strike in the future to deter the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

He also said the threat of military action is what led to a possible diplomatic solution, which he promised to give a chance.

At 16 minutes, it was a short speech, but it could have been even shorter.

In fact, I don't think the situation in Syria right now needed a presidential speech to the nation.