Americans growing tired of war
The cat-and-mouse game between the United States and Syria took an unusual turn on Monday.
President Obama appears to be delaying any notion to attack Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people in the country’s ongoing civil war.
Now, a proposal to have Syria turn its chemical weapons arsenal to international control may be gaining some traction.
For a war-weary nation such as the United States, this may be the needed breakthrough to avoid a surgical strike on Syria for violating the etiquette of conducting war. We tend to agree that the U.S. needs to see what the Bashar Assad government will do with its chemical stockpile in a deal that may be brokered by the Russians.
What the president and Congress have discovered during the past two weeks, though, is that a majority of their constituents oppose any type of military action against Syria. We also see the major disagreements in Congress including Iraq and Afghanistan war vets who both oppose and favor intervention in Syria.
The U.S., according to President Obama and a handful of lawmakers including Sen. Harry Reid, is prepared to “go it alone” if need be, to punish the Assad government for killing upward to 1,500 people with chemical agents. Will the proposal to allow international control, though, be enough to deter the U.S., especially its chicken hawks, from launching a bad-boy strike against Assad?
What perplexes many Americans is that the Obama Administration remains reluctant to spell out its objectives for launching what many think would be a strike using upward to 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles shot “across the bow” to scare Assad.
The buzz at the White House centers on showing Assad that the U.S. means business in punishing a nation for using chemicals on its own people, but very little talk has focused on removing Assad from office or leveling half of Damascus in a “shock and awe” display. Essentially, the White House has done a poor job in making its case for a strike against Syria.
Americans remember the military action against Iraq in 2003 in which the administration said Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of chemicals weapons, which were never found, and that he was a threat to U.S. national security. The president has declared “no boots on the ground” in Syria, but do we totally trust promises made by the government? Combine that with 12 years of fighting in Afghanistan, it is easy to see why a majority of Americans do not want the U.S. to become involved in a civil war.
The showdown between the U.S. and Russia also reminds us of the Cold War in which both super powers meddled in other countries’ affairs, and nothing has really changed on the international scene including the rhetoric spewed by both governments.
Unless the president can show how U.S. interests will be affected by the Syrian civil war, it is not prudent to launch a strike on Syria at this time. Look at Libya: The U.S. and its NATO allies intervened in the Libyan civil war, but that area of the world still remains unstable. Escalating the mess in Syria will, undoubtedly, do the same.
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.