Missile strike on Syria questionable

Once again the world is on the brink of a major international crisis, thanks to some dictator in a backwater country.

And, once again, the United States is on the brink of entering into yet another military action. The difference this time is the United States may do it alone and with strong condemnation from other key international players.

Should we - can we - continue as the world's policeman and moral authority? That's questionable.

The latest crisis involves Syria and Bashar al-Assad, 'president' of the Middle Eastern country since 2000, after taking over from his father, who ruled for 30 years.

The Obama administration is accusing Assad's regime of killing 1,429 people in a chemical attack on Aug. 21 in a suburb of Damascus, the country's capital. Other international groups say the numbers are much lower, but the apparent use of chemical weapons seems a last gasp for Assad, who has been mired in a civil war for the last two years.

The world's collective disdain for using chemical weapons is well-known. Such use is tied to names like Hitler and Saddam Hussein. And it was that use of chemical weapons that led Obama to announce plans for a 'surgical' weapons strike against Syria.

He has since backtracked and is now asking for congressional approval. We believe that is the right step. There is a difference between the president ordering a specific hit on a target, like Osama bin Laden, as opposed to multiple missile strikes on a country we are not at war with.

Whether Congress will approve is still up in the air. A key vote is expected today that would allow a 90-day limit and forbid the use of U.S. ground troops. And even then it appears the U.S. will stand alone. Britain has already voted against participating; France at one time said it would join but now waits to see what Congress will do. China and Russia have strongly condemned any action.

The question remains, should we launch missiles at chemical sites in Syria? And if so, under what pretense?

Our problem is that no other country, with the possible exception of France, wants anything to do with such an attack. That should speak volumes.

Second, the U.S. does not have a very good record on limited involvement in foreign conflicts. What starts as a missile attack leads to groups of 'advisers' to a 'limited' peacekeeping force to a full-blown incursion.

Third, we can no longer serve as the world's policeman or moral agent. This is a civil war in a Middle Eastern country. We are only considering a missile attack because we are 'appalled' at the use chemical weapons. But this administration has lost the moral argument justification. NSA spying, Benghazi, IRS targeting, potential perjury by the attorney general and so on, to name just a few.

We await to see how Congress votes. And if it does approve limited action, whether that will actually happen. We can only hope.




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