Secretary of State John Kerry is ballyhooing support from the Arab League, Turkey, and France, saying "We are not alone in our will to do something."
One by one, however, names have slipped off of the list from this support group. And with the British Parliament now having rejected the idea of Britain's military getting involved, Obama is looking more and more like the lone commander charging the hill while his allies hunker down in the trenches.
Option 6: Firing missiles from warships in the Mediterranean
Yes, it is pretty much down to that now, and even that option is complicated.
Make no mistake: Cruise missiles are magnificent, virtually unstoppable weapons capable of pinpoint, devastating strikes. However, all the days of wrangling have given the Syrians an immense amount of time to hide their own weapons, secure their airplanes, and disperse critical command and control assets.
Should the Tomahawks start flying, they may well find themselves crashing down into an inordinate number of empty buildings, according to Gen. Marks -- or worse, into places packed with civilians.
What's more, Syria's allies such as Iran could respond to what would undoubtedly be called an act of war by stepping up aid to al-Assad, and he could emerge with a stronger military as a result.
At home the situation is not much better.
The White House has blitzed the airwaves and the Internet with official statements. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has declared the military ready to go. Secretary Kerry has described the lurid pictures of chemical attack victims, saying "All of them show and report victims with breathing difficulties, people twitching with spasms, coughing, rapid heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness, and death..."
President Obama himself sat down with PBS to explain the broader, regional implications of allowing Syria to use chemical weapons with impunity.
"This is a volatile country in a very volatile region. We've got allies bordering Syria. Turkey is a NATO ally, Jordan a close friend that we work with a lot. Israel is very close by. We've got bases throughout the region. We cannot see a breach of the nonproliferation norm that allows, potentially, chemical weapons to fall into the hands of all kinds of folks."
But none of it seems to have mattered much.
The president faces stiff opposition in Congress. Democrats, like Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, are saying that America "cannot be the lone sheriff of the whole world. The United States must be careful in how it proceeds and must act together with a coalition of countries."
Republicans, like Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, seem disturbed by the administration's lack of clarity on the mission and timetable. "The administration informed us that they have a 'broad range of options' for Syria," he says, "but failed to layout a single option."
As for the public, an NBC poll has found only half of Americans support any kind of military action against Syria, and 80% say it should happen only with congressional approval.
So we're back to where we started: The choices are dreadful and would be for any president, Democratic or Republican; the outcomes are wildly uncertain; and the consequences -- no matter which direction he turns -- are likely to be grave.
Against this backdrop of unspeakable acts and unfathomable causes and effects, perhaps it is small wonder that Obama keeps saying, "I have not made a final decision."
Although in the very act of doing that, he is committing to one choice not mentioned so far: Waiting.
Waiting to see if some new evidence, some new ally, some new intelligence clears the smoke over Syria and makes plain a way forward.