Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The U.S. ignores history’s lessons

Syria. Here is my question: Why was our first reaction on hearing about the gassing of Syrian citizens to propose dropping bombs? Weeks later no one is completely certain who was responsible for the attacks, yet we were a hair’s breadth away from raining down destruction on a country already wracked by civil war. 

It doesn’t take a brilliant person to understand that there were ulterior motives at play here. Most likely to me is that this was an excuse to try and tip the civil war in favor of the rebels, who, we are beginning to find out, aren’t exactly a bunch of Boy Scouts.

Regardless of the reason, it was a horrible idea that, unfortunately, Obama is still keeping as an option. As we reflect today on the attacks of September 11, 2001, we need to remember that acts of violence always have long-term repercussions. The President keeps telling us that any bombing in Syria would be a quick, one-time deal as if it’s something we shouldn’t even worry our pretty little heads about. Innocent people will die. Terrorists will use it as an excuse to attack us again. Our image around the globe will diminish even further. Despite the size or length of an attack on Syria, the ramifications would be profound.

The media, as usual, has reduced the complex issues at play here into a simple hawks versus isolationists paradigm. Those of us who oppose bombing Syria are not isolationists, in fact we are just the opposite. We want the United States to be an involved, responsible member of the world community and work with the UN and our allies to come up with a unified response to whoever was responsible for the chemical attacks. In fact, America isolates itself every time we take it on ourselves to conduct ad hoc military actions.

One thing is certain. Our leaders have not learned from our past, and seem intent on repeating previous mistakes.

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