I love that Daily Kos is about opinions - thankfully almost always at least somewhat progressive. Some of us rant, some us opine, and some of us are just - well - very emotionally vested in topics we diary here.
As an all too infrequent contributor, I just want to take a moment and look at the issue of President Obama and his decision on Syria.
Honestly, I have not decided whether I support this or not. For me this is a very tough call and a very complicated issue. And while I respect all of the outpouring and emotion on all sides, I'd like to explain what makes this difficult for me, and see how many of you are stuck in the same spot.
Here are the thoughts in my head - not necessarily in any order:
1. Assad is a cruel and incredibly sick tyrant. He rules over a country which has complicated domestic politics, and this is much, much for complicated than just Sunni versus Shiite Muslim stuff that is an issue in other countries. He clearly attacked those people and he clearly
2. This has absolutely nothing to do with Israel or Palestine. While I appreciate that it could be verbally herangued that it does, it doesn't. Syria's issues really are Syria's issues. I know one side or the other in the Israeli/Palestine conflict comes up a bunch in these discussions - but seriously, let's give that a rest as it is way off the mark.
3. There is clearly international law that says you don't use chemical weapons - anywhere. Not on your own people and not on the battlefield. It's an old convention, but I don't see how that can possibly outdated, especially since the impact of these chemicals has grown only more horrible over the years.
4. The similarities between this conflict and Iraq are slim to none. There are certainly other issues here that are very troubling, but this is nothing like Iraq. I appreciate the rhetoric, but let me just be really clear here: Nothing. Like. Iraq. Sadaam Hussein didn't even have chemical weapons. The Bush administration was either incredibly stupid or they lied (either is criminal). We committed troops to an invasion to remove Hussein from power. While this could end up spiraling out of control (one of those issues), at this point I don't see the connection.
5. It's awful that this horrible man and his horrible army have killed thousands, but anytime we unleash our weapons we risk taking innocent lives - and we frequently do take them - whenever we unleash our weapons. Does that mean we're better because we tried not to hurt innocent people and failed? That is certainly worth a discussion.
6. On the other hand, while any war is horrible, there are no absolutes. I bet some of the same people posting on what an awful thing it is to go to war, and we should never, ever do it are also people who think 2nd amendment absolutists are crazy (and I agree with that, by the way).
7. We need to have the President's back and stop accusing him of walking away from his progressive bonafides because he wants to do this. Hell, Francois Hollande wants to do this and he's a socialist. Foreign policy and real politik are strange and unusual and really don't conform to most domestic political realities.
8. This is not a media conspiracy, and it is not a government conspiracy. Sometimes I think that conspiratorialists simply forgot their meds that morning. Honestly, how many conspiracies can their be? The conspiratorial stuff - like the Republicans taking away our voting rights - happen right in the open most of the time. The military has all those ships in the Mediterranean at the moment because the President told them to put them there. No conspiracy. And the media is running all of these stories because it is a big deal. Use of chemical weapons by anybody is a BIG DEAL and it deserves our attention. We can disagree about how we respond, but that doesn't mean it isn't a big deal.
9. Let's say the Congress votes "no" on a resolution (I give that 50-50 at this point) and the President attacks Syria any way (which he clearly telegraphed this weekend). If he does, and then the GOP moves to impeach him (which is possible), are we going to laugh and say, "That's your own fault," or are we going to support our President?
10. Is President Obama being lackadaisical by telegraphing everything in advance, or are we so powerful that it really doesn't matter?
You see, I'm stuck. For me, sometimes military force is justified - like in cases of genocide or use of horrendous weapons. It's not about choosing to go to war, it's about us being a policeman (like it or not, that's the apt analogy).
But, like alot of folks who post here, I fear the diminished return of acting. What will that really accomplish in the long run? Will it stop Assad from doing it again? Would not acting really bring him to the table when he has such a strong upper hand because of these weapons?
I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know that they are far more complicated than some of the emotional clap-trap that I've seen posted here lately. I'm hoping as this debate moves forward we can give some rational, reality-based discussion a boost.