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Syrian Response: Blow up Runways

U.S. President Barack Obama (2L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Barack Obama has announced his plan to include Congress in the discussion  regarding military force in Syria. He reserves the right to act without them, but including them is a smart move both here and abroad.

According to various reports over 1000 Syrian, men, women, and children died in August as a result of the use of a chemical agent. At this writing U.S. officials are stating it was a Sarin type gas.

Allied government leaders and citizens are all expressing outrage about the deaths. However, only the leaders in France are close to siding with a military response.  The Parliament in Britain has voted “no” to intervention.  The United Nations has not taken a position, even though international pronouncements have prohibited the use of chemical weapons.

In our country, the public is wary of any more entanglements in the Middle East. Most polls show a strong desire to stay away.  Members of the U.S. Senate may be more easily persuaded to agree to some type of military response. Senator John McCain is siding with the President on this issue. The House of Representatives is another story. As a body, they are more conservative. Some newer members could be described as “isolationists.”  Some of them don’t like anything the President wants to do, so the political angle can not be overlooked.  However, long time political foe, Speaker of the House John Boehner, is also expressing support for a military response.  

The Uncivil war in Syria has been going on for two years. Over 100,000 people have been killed. World leaders have had plenty of time to discuss all the options, and reach consensus, on numerous options based on events within Syria. They didn’t.

Our President made a mistake when he warned that using chemical weapons would be “crossing a red line.” He didn’t state the consequences, and because world leaders have not created a plan, there have been no consequences suffered, at this time.  It reminds me of a parent telling a child, “don’t to that, or else!!” and having no idea what an appropriate “or else” is. A sad commentary on the vision of not just our President, but allied leaders, also.

It is painful to watch, listen, and read about the tragedies in Syria. It is frustrating not to be able to find a solution to stop the senseless loss of life.  I am sure most of us would like to help in some way. Military action may beget more military action, therefore, more loss of life. The chances of hurting the people perpetrating the violence enough to convince them to stop, are probably slim .

This is a delicate situation, internationally, and within our own borders. Our approval rating of Congress is the lowest in history. We don’t trust, or like them. Yet they are all we have to help forge a solution that will be acceptable here, and hopefully effective overseas. 

Russian and Chinese leaders are saying don’t use the military. Iranian officials  are warning of dire consequences if we respond.  This could easily become a much larger problem, expanding well beyond the border of Syria. U.S. Embassies, consulates, employees, and American business interests could be attacked by angry supporters of the Syrian regime.  Israel would likely become a major target.

I have changed my mind of this issue several times in the past two weeks. My current position is this:  Weaken the Syrian military by making it impossible for them to fly. Blow up concrete at all military installations. Run and Taxi ways, and all staging areas. This won’t stop the army, but it slows and weakens the Syrian ability to attack their own citizens by air, and may make it easier to provide humanitarian aide near the Syrian border and inside the country, too.  

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