Civil Discourse Now

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   In "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," author Tom Robbins occasionally notes the International situation was desperate, as usual." The situation in Syria brought that observation to mind as I read Senator McCain's judgment. We must bomb Syria or lose credibility.

   From what I have read of international views of United States foreign policy over the last 50 years, "we" have little credibility, give or take bombs dropped on Syria. One who is "credible" is "worthy of belief or confidence." "The American College Dictionary, p. 284. Perhaps there would be a loss of credibility for President Obama and the United States after the President's "red line" comment this summer as to the possibility of Syria's employment of chemical weapons against its own people. Recently evidence has come forth that Syria has used chemical weapons. In the episode of "The Andy Griffith Show," in which the new kid in town dares Opie to "cross this line," and Opie crosses it, the kid falls back on other lines by which he dares the young Taylor. The message of the episode, that I took away, was when a bad person draws a line in the sand or some other mark across which retaliation is inferred to follow, one always should cross the line.

   We have bombed countries for years. We supply the majority of weapons to the World's nations. President Obama appears to have gone part of the way toward the manner in which the Constitution requires war to be declared. He has said he will seek Congressional approval before he initiates any strike against Syria. I think that is sound as policy. I think it is required by the Constitution---and should be as part of the process of declaring war on another country. If President Obama fails to garner the votes, then that is it.

   Again, though, I ask why is there debate on this matter? There is no provision in the Constitution for the United States to act as the Cop of the World. We are not endowed by the United Nations, anyone's "natural creator," or anyone except American exceptionalists with the mandate to right the wrongs in the rest of the World. If Syrian people have been gassed, that is horrible. When others have been kiled in Syria by more conventional means and greater numbers, what made their deaths less horrible? Death is death. By gas, bullets, bombs or endless replays of "MacArthur Park," if one is killed the result is the same.

   We do not "need" to bomb Syria. Our national security is not directly threatened by Syria's dictator. Al-Qaeda supports the side our bombs, one could infer, would benefit. Al-Qaeda has attacked our country. Al-Qaeda poses a more direct threat to our security than does Assad. Instead, there are persons and corporations who WANT to bomb Syria. Manufacturers of military aircraft, bombs, various hardware of naval operations, oil companies---all would profit from a new engagement in warfare. To "want" is "to wish or desire." Id., p. 1372. 

   United States military operations against Syria would be a mistake. The negative consequences are many. I have yet to hear an argument "for" involvement that makes any sense.

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