The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 7, 2013

Serious mistake could bring regrets for generations

The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN — We Americans stand on the threshold of making another serious mistake, one that could bring us regrets for many years to come – possibly for generations.

President Obama is itching to use U.S. military force against Syria on the excuse that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its own people. Nearly 1,500 civilians were killed, it was reported.

This is a horrible thing, especially if it is true that the chemical agents were employed by the Syrian government. However, even if that is true, it is not the responsibility or right of the United States to punish that action.

When will we learn to keep our noses out of other countries’ business? When will we learn to respect the sovereignty of other nations as we would hope they respect ours? When will we limit our focus to the problems that directly affect to United States and our people? Are there not enough things that could be made better right here at home?

It has been said that every president likes to have his own war, although not all have had one. Obama has been fighting George W. Bush’s war for far too long, and maybe he thinks it would be nice to have his own.

If indeed, Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its own people, it is tragic and deserves the scorn of other governments, but not the use of weapons. We remember too well the “intelligence” reports that Iraq had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, and the slaughter of many thousands of people only to prove those reports were not true.

Will this be the case again? Assad has said his government did not use the chemicals, that insurgents used them to try to get the United States and other nations to intervene on the side of the rebels. Of course, we would not expect either side to admit such an action.

What is Obama thinking? To punish the chemical killing of hundreds of Syrian civilians, would he choose to kill thousands by blowing them apart with our bombs and missiles?

Our president said he will seek the approval of Congress to use military force against Syria, but he added that he doesn’t think he needs such approval. This is a typical reaction from one who believes the U.S. Constitution is outdated and does not apply to him, even though he took an oath to obey, defend and protect it.

Even our president should realize that the entire Middle East is as touchy as a powder keg, rife with religious and political hatreds and distrust. One spark could see the entire region ablaze and perhaps spread beyond.

It has to be recognized that both Russia and China side with the Syrians. If warfare should spread through the Middle East because of an inappropriate U.S. action, it well could be the start of World War III, and “Obama’s war” could be a lot more than he bargained for.

We already have sent far too many of our young men and women to bleed and die in wars we had no business starting. We are not the policeman nor the saviour

for the whole world. We should protect our own sovereignty and respect that of other countries, even if we do not agree with them.

We can remain a super power even if we don’t flex our military muscle. If other nations are aware that we have and continue to build that muscle it is enough.

It was refreshing to learn that the British Parliament turned thumbs down on getting involved in action against Syria. At least some common sense prevails in the United Kingdom. It should be hoped that some remains in the United States.