Congress to vote on attacking Syria

Today is September 1, 2013. So, now we have confirmation that the gas used in Syria was nerve gas. And congress has now been invited by Obama to vote to support a ‘narrow’ attack on Syria’s military infrastructure. Yet, I hear nothing but drum beating and sword rattling from the talking heads on cable news shows. Almost every so-called expert is saying the U.S. must follow through and punish Syria for using nerve gas or else risk undermining American credibility. These talking heads claim Obama has mishandled the crisis and now he risks diluting the authority of the Presidency by allowing Congress to authorize and approve any attack. This point of view is anathema to me. I understand what they’re thinking, but it’s the same mentality that created the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghan wars for the U.S. And is the world any ‘safer for democracy’ afterwards? No. Are we any less likely to suffer terrorism? No. Are we any closer to developing positive relations with countries in the Middle East? No. Are we improving our relations with Russia and China? No. So, tell me please how flexing American military muscle in Syria will change anything that will lead to a positive outcome?

Is it not appropriate for a President to seek support from Congress and the people before resorting to military action, especially when the stakes are so high?  I think it is. I’m hearing on TV, though, that Obama should be ‘stronger’ and not let Congress weaken his presidency. That attitude leaves me speechless.  And if Congress says no? If the representatives of ‘we the people’ do not approve of attacking Syria, what are the potential negative outcomes?  I guess, fewer people will die and America will lose more credibility.  Somehow, I worry more that an attack on Syria will lead to another point of no return on a path to a large scale war.

So, let’s give Congress its due and the task of debating this issue. The critics are saying it’s just another delay, another way to weaken the element of surprise, another propaganda gift for Assad–OK, and so what if that’s all true? Does it help in possibly avoiding war?  How about let’s put the military toys away and get the Middle East countries who have a stake in this to settle their differences regarding Assad and urge them through negotiation to help the Syrian people?

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