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The Lake News Online
  • Guest column: Parties divided over Syria intervention

  • Americans are war weary.

    Who can blame us?
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  • Americans are war weary.
    Who can blame us?
    We have seen too many young men and women hurt and killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have spent far too much money. War helps cash flow in the national economy by providing work for soldiers and others who labor under the framework Military Industrial Complex. But spending a few billion dollars a day is rough on budget deficits and the national debt and we are feeling that pain.
    So you can understand why no one really wants to get involved in Syria. Action there promises to be more of the same — another costly, risky intervention in a country full of Muslims who understandably feel targeted by America.
    But there are more than 100,000 dead in the Syrian Civil War, and now the country's leader, Bashar al-Assad, has been accused of using chemical weapons on his own people. That has never been tolerated before.
    But polls show little interest in intervening. That makes the decision to attack politically difficult. But is political maneuvering really a great way to make policy on national defense?
    Politicians make war but war and politics are awful bedfellows.
    President Barack Obama is making the case for an attack. But despite broad support at the top of the political spectrum, both parties are divided at the ground level.
    House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Eric Cantor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are all in favor of taking action, but that is no guarantee of success in the action or even getting the issue approved in the House of Representatives.
    Secretary of State John Kerry took a beating in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday.
    There are many good reasons not to start another war, but the only arguments made against taking action sound like 2016 presidential campaign ads.
    Sarah Palin says we should "let Allah sort it out."
    Senators like Ted Cruz (Sarah Palin in a tie) and Rand Paul (a younger version of Ron Paul with better hair), who both have Presidential aspirations, have consistently been against action in Syria.
    Sen. Marco Rubio, another potential 2016 contender, has pushed for action in Syria for a couple of years as the atrocities have mounted, but now that he finds himself on the same side of the argument as Obama, he has changed his mind. He says America is "leading from behind."
    "What we're seeing here now is proof and an example of when America ignores these problems, these problems don't ignore us," he said. "We can ignore them, but eventually they grow and they come to visit us at our doorstep."
    So the problem is worse now, but Rubio suddenly thinks action in Syria is a bad idea? That only makes sense in a political framework.
    Page 2 of 2 - If military action in Syria is approved by Congress, many Americans worry that air support will soon lead to ground troops and occupation. Kerry faced the question and stumbled around about "closing doors" and "no boots on the ground," but we all know that predicting the future isn't as easy as some would like to believe.
    We have a game plan that we are almost certain will work.
    But to quote boxing legend Mike Tyson, "Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth."
    Remember our last war in Iraq? It was going to be clean and easy and the mission was accomplished as of 2003. But four years later, the accomplished mission was still giving us fits.
    That's when we needed a surge to finish the job.
    Will Syria require a surge to finish the job? We won't know until we know.
    We don't know now.
    But if Congress approves this action it better be with both eyes open. This is no time to wink and hope.
    If you are willing to fly over and drop bombs, you better be willing to do whatever else it takes to finish the action that you start.
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