To Vote No or to Vote Yes, That Is The Question

I was hoping to be writing my blog this week all about a wonderful vacation, but due to the events surrounding Syria that is impossible. In a few days, the U.S. Congress will vote on whether we should initiate a military action to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. At this moment, there is concern at the White House that it will pass.

6920461745_30a3508ecfThose that are against the military action list a number of issues. There is no direct threat to the U.S. There is no guarantee that Assad will change his behavior based on our actions. There is a chance we will get pulled in more deeply and end up in another situation like Iraq. The majority of Americans are against any involvement due to being so war weary.

Those that are against the military action list a number of issues. There is no direct threat to the U.S. There is no guarantee that Assad will change his behavior based on our actions. There is a chance we will get pulled in more deeply and end up in another situation like Iraq. The majority of Americans are against any involvement due to being so war weary.

Those who want the U.S. to strike cite the need to stand up against any chemical weapon use in the world. They list the thousands of deaths. They mention the importance of enforcing America’s word since the President said we crossed a “red line.” Iran and North Korea are used as reasons that we must enforce the President’s statement that we crossed a “red line.”

One can go back and look at the history and lay blame at our policy for years. Or one can wonder why American policy seems so unsuccessful in the Middle East recently. After this vote, it would be nice if there were some serious policy changes so that we don’t keep having to “catch up” or not lead from behind, but now is not really the time to make the U.S. look weak and isolationist.

Although I totally understand the war fatigue that is left from Iraq and Afghanistan, there doesn’t seem to be any real choice. The risk is too great to not support the President no matter what one thinks about his policies or the Middle East. A “no” vote might not stop Assad, but it might indeed embolden many other players such as Iran and North Korea. Unfortunately, there are always consequences to every action. When one coldly stacks up the pros and cons, support for a strike risks fewer lives than sending the message to the world that America does not back its word. If Congress doesn’t support the President, it is almost certain that Assad will take advantage and continue to kill more of his people. Yes, he might do it anyway, but at least there will have been an attempt to slow him down. If Congress votes “yes,” and Assad continues his behavior, at least there was an attempt to stand against chemical weapons which might affect other players on the world stage.

Hopefully, the President will make a sound case for his actions when he speaks to the nation. If not, we will indeed be seeing a true “lame duck.”

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