Author: Barrett Rainey

For several weeks, I’ve been trying – really trying – to come up with a solid justification for risking more lives in Syria. Theirs and ours. I’ve tried – really tried – to find reasons to smack ol’ Bashar Assad up-side-the-head for killing and maiming thousands of his own people. I’ve tried. And failed.

If the president of this country authorizes any military action against Syria, I truly believe he’ll be wrong!

As citizens living in this freedom-loving country – citizens who value life, liberty and all that goes with them – citizens who’ve buried more than their share of loved ones who died protecting others all over the world – we’ve shown we put a high value on all we have. We put a high value on – our values. But those values are not the same in the rest of the world. And we’ve had our national butt kicked in several other countries when we tried to impose ours over theirs. For whatever seemingly humanitarian reasons we had at the time. History – and reality – tell us we were wrong.

Assad Junior has been killing his fellow countrymen and women and children for many years. His father – who killed hundreds of thousands in his own time – taught the kid well. Pick a means of death and it’s likely been used by one or the other. Or both. For many, many decades.

And we’ve watched for those same decades without doing anything about it. We’ve recognized the Syrian regimes as they’ve been torturing and killing. And we’ve even given – or sold – them arms of all kinds. They kept killing. We looked the other way.

Now – now Junior may have used chemicals to kill even more. And suddenly we’ve become incensed because he did. Or MAYBE he did. We know gas was used but we don’t know definitively who pulled the trigger. But because it was gas and not bullets or bombs, we’re all upset.

Why are we upset? What’s the difference if you die by bullets, bombs, knives, swords, starvation – or poison chemicals? Why have we become so nearly irrational in our hatred of Junior that our president wants to lob some missiles into the country? To hit what? To hit whom? And we’re not even sure it was Junior who authorized the deadly deed or some nutcase field commander or even one overzealous private who set it off. Or the “rebels.”

So, one of our tidy naval vessels is supposed to fire off a few Cruise missiles, turns to the open sea and the crew goes back to normal duties. For the rest of us – for the president who seems hellbent on pulling the trigger – what then?

President Obama made the first mistake when – without proof-in-hand – he very publically warned Assad he crossed “a red line” if reports of chemical weapons use were confirmed. For a man gifted as few others with the ability to express himself on camera, he certainly put himself – and maybe the rest of us – in a verbal “political box” for no reason.

Now, with repeated polling showing eight-in-ten of us want no part of any military response to Assad’s possible use of chemical weapons – and with what appears to be a losing effort to get Congress and other major nations to go along – Obama and a few stalwarts are still breast-beating and threatening to go it alone.

Again, I’ve really tried to justify supporting military action. Really looked at what facts we have. But, short of hating Assad and/or whoever used chemicals to kill more than a thousand Syrian civilians, I can’t make the case to misuse our power to kill more of them.

Without going into all the deliberate lies of the Bush folks who got us mired down in Iraq while costing hundreds of thousands of lives, did we do any good with our military might and did we achieve Bush’s announced goal of “introducing democracy?” We did not! Bombings and killings are continuing daily and corruption Iraq-style runs the government top to bottom. The guy-on-the-Iraq-street just wanted to be left alone. For thousands of years, the tribes fought for power – millions died – and our “democracy” drive was doomed from the start.

And Afghanistan? Are we succeeding there? Have we and our “democracy” made the country a better place? Have the thousands of years of tribal warfare been erased with an election or two? Hell, we aren’t even out of the country yet and the government has told us repeatedly to “get out!” We’ve propped up a crook to run the place and even he hates us.

Aside from despising Assad Junior for possibly committing an act the civilized world abhors, do we have real justification to commit treasure – and possibly more American lives – to express our national anger? Has our president – schooled in constitutional law and with a Nobel Peace Prize on his mantle – forgotten our decades of huge national loss trying to change conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan? And Lybia? And Viet Nam?

Try as I might, only three words keep coming to mind: Don’t Do It!

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