Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our missiles are bigger than your missiles

Barack Obama is now swimming in a stew of his own making. He drew the red line and now he's having to figure out what to do now that it's been crossed.

All of this talk and bluster about how the Assad regime committed a heinous act by launching a rocket loaded up with a chemical agent is quite hypocritical, however. The United States used chemical agents against Iraq in the first Gulf War. The US dumped Agent Orange over the countryside in Vietnam. The US dropped two atomic bombs on major cities in Japan. No one was made to answer for those atrocities.

The President wants to launch missiles are certain military sites over a two-day period. Why? If the missile attack is in retaliation for the chemical weapon attack, why not attack the actual stores of chemical weapons? Why declare ahead of time that you'll only be blowing up stuff for a couple of days? And what of the innocent civilians who are going to be killed in the attacks? How will their deaths be any different than those who died in the chemical weapon attack?

The alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria killed some 1,400 people - not an insignificant number - but there were more than 100,000 killed in the prior two years; along with over a million refugees. What makes the use of chemical weapons any more heinous than the slaughter of tens of thousands of people by use of bullets and bombs?

And then we have the hypocrisy of Congress. Our elected representatives wrote George W. Bush a blank check after Colin Powell went before the UN and lied about Iraq possessing stores of weapons of mass destruction. They couldn't wait to authorize the president to do whatever he wanted to do to Iraq.

There was little debate about whether military action was called for. There was little debate about exactly who has the power to declare war. Now Republicans are up on the high horses about just who has the authority to get the US involved in someone else's civil war.

That horse, my friends, has already left the barn.

Congress stood by and allowed Harry Truman to send troops to Korea. They stood by as president after president got the US more and more entangled in Vietnam. They stood by as Ronald Reagan and George Bush sent troops into Central America. They stood by as Bush the Younger got us stuck in the morass of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Congress long ago abdicated its power to declare war.

There are plenty of good reasons to oppose an attack on Syria. Doing so for partisan political purposes, however, isn't one of them.

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