America's Responsibility to Act

America must intervene in Syria because it's the right thing to do, not because we want to prove something.

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Many people are asking what will happen if we get involved in Syria. There are arguments for and against U.S. involvement. Polls show the American people are against it. Both the House Majority Leader, John Boehner, and the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, back the president's request for Congressional approval for a limited 60 day strike on Syria and, like Libya, no boots on the ground. 

There are many compelling arguments circulating as to what could happen as a result of such attacks:

  1. This could prevent Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and other dictators from future chemical weapons attacks or from attacking their own people. Then again, some argue, this might just be an excuse for Assad to become more violent, hoping to draw America into his full blown war in Syria.
  2. If we strike Syria, but have no plan to remove Assad, then these attacks might do little or nothing to the situation on the ground there.
  3. Assad could use anti-western, anti-american propaganda to gain more support for his side and claim that he is not behind the attacks with chemical weapons.
  4. The president put a line in the sand – no chemical warfare – and he must defend that position for his own reputation and leadership, as well as that of the United States. And it's not just U.S. leadership. Historically, governments and militaries throughout the world agree and abide by international laws with regard to certain weaponry and certain warfare, including nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. These treaties also speak of soldiers only fighting and attacking other soldiers, not innocent men, women and children as we have seen in Syria over the past year. 
  5. In order to break the political deadlock in Syria, 60 days wont be enough,  and we could end up in another Iraq. Also the presence of al-Qaida and its ability to take over political power with Assad's removal is concerning, not to mention Russia and China's backing of Assad, and threats Iran has made to Israel. All of this certainly play into the fears of the American people.
  6. [See a collection of political cartoons on Syria.]

    Now with some of these fears, facts and arguments aside, lets ask the bigger question: What happens if we don't get involved, America?

    As Republican Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has suggested, it would be catastrophic for the U.S. not to act and not to act now. If we don't act now, how will we degrade Assad's chemical weapon capabilities? How can we stop or slow down or prevent further mass murder of innocent men, women and children? How can the Free Syrian Army gain strength and how can we show our support for their opposition to Assad, his rule and his methods? As our Secretary of State John Kerry said, if we fail to act, we could lose our allies and as Sen. Menendez, D-N.J., stated, "we have an obligation to act."

    [See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

    The United States has arguably the best military in the world. We have briliant military minds in that Pentagon, among our joint chiefs advising our president. I trust them and their judgement. I trust their expertise, their experience; and I trust this president.

    This strike is not about sticking out our middle finger at Russia; this strike is not about showing Assad who is boss nor saving face due to a line in the sand. This strike is about justice and where America stands, regardless of the politics or political party of our president.

    As Americans, if we can save one child's life and see one less child wrything in pain or being wrapped in a sheet for burial due to chemical weapons, aren't we obliged to do at least that? Yes we are. I have never in my life made a decision based on fear, and nor should America. We simply cannot ignore these inhumane murderous attacks for fear of threats like Iran bombing Israel (Face it, Iran would be a parking lot in about 72 hours if that happened) or al-Qaida coming to power.

    America needs to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. If we truly want freedom and free elections, we must stand with those who want that for their own nation as we did with Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. But America also needs to realize that, in a free election, we don't get to choose that country's freely elected leaders. And we should not strike or fail to strike based on that premise.

    • Read Brad Bannon: If Congress Says No on Syria, Obama Must Back Down
    • Read Peter Roff: Obama and Congress Shouldn't Delay on Syria
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