Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The silver lining of Syria

I've been asked a couple of times what I think about the Syria situation. 

Well, when George W. Bush gleefully skipped into war in Iraq, I deplored everything about it. I thought he was basing his venture on flawed evidence and seemed too eager to get it going. Also, I worried that there was real connection to 9/11 and that it would strain our resources in Afghanistan. History, unfortunately, bore out those suspicions. 

I worry about the same effects of the Iraq disaster in Syria, just as I did in the Bush era when it seemed we might attack Syria then. Questionable objectives and alliances. Destruction. Death. Politics. I don't like the idea of America mounting offensives against other nations, and I believe war in general represents a failure of diplomacy. It should be the last, desperate resort rather than commonplace.

The one silver lining is that we have a president now who is measured and reasonable. Even if the decisions don't turn out the way I hoped, they'll at least be the result of contemplation rather than reckless cowboy tactics. And President Obama's decision to defer to Congress ensures that it isn't unilateral. Many have scoffed at that move, but I think it's what checks and balances is all about. The decision to strike in Syria is one requiring deliberation and consensus, and it won't happen without it. That's a sliver of progress from the past regime.

If nothing else, that's a plus.

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