Extreme caution on Syria issue is only approach

September 5, 2013

Those who rallied in Bloomington Monday, and plan to again today, against a military strike on Syria raise some very good issues. Indiana’s congressional delegation should explore them thoroughly before considering authorizing what would surely be seen as a declaration of war on yet another nation.
President Obama did the right thing when he slowed down and asked Congress to get involved. Now our leaders at the highest levels of government must weigh the potential consequences of what happens next.
The tendency for the United States to want to be a policeman for the world comes from good intentions. If the Syrian government really did use chemical weapons to kill more than 1,400 of its own citizens the world community should be appalled and Syria should become a pariah.
But, as peace advocates noted Monday, our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been long and costly, the objectives less than clear. Military strikes on Iraq turned out to be based on faulty information about weapons of mass destruction.
It’s difficult to see how a strike against Syria would be any less provocative and entangling than these two wars. There would be a response — against ally Israel, or in terrorism on our shores. Are we prepared for that?
So far, U.S. Rep. Todd Young’s spokesman said, the Bloomington congressman is leaning “no” on a military strike. But he wants to gather more information, which is prudent.
Other Republicans, 8th District Rep. Larry Bucshon and Sen. Dan Coats, also have raised concerns about the ramifications of a strike. One must wonder if they’d be heading straight into military action with a Republican president — as when George W. Bush attacked Iraq — but for now we’ll simply support their caution.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, is more intent to back Democrat Obama, saying he is in favor of using military force.
Reps. Young and Bucshon, Sens. Coats and Donnelly: No doubt you will have more information on which to make your decisions than will we or the peace advocates who implore you not to authorize an attack.
However, once launched it can’t be taken back. And in a very dangerous world, that’s an escalation that should not be taken without absolute certainty of benefits for this nation and the people of Syria.
The Herald-Times (Bloomington)

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