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A Critique of the Faulty Congressional Rationale for Bombing

by Susan C. Strong

The following item started as a comment attached to my previous 9.06/13 post, Re Syria: Say "We Can Do Better than Bombing," published yesterday. This post is about faulty reasoning; to see my suggestions for framing a better response, check my Syria piece. After writing this comment, I realized that it should get a wider audience--some Senators, a President perhaps?

This morning I opened up the paper to find that both of my senators are intent on voting for bombing, despite being flooded with constituent pleas to vote no. The senators' reasons:

l. "We can't close our eyes to Assad's violation of international law."

My comment: No one is suggesting we should close our eyes! Bombing alone is a lot different from keeping our eyes open! We need to rally the world to take more effective action that is also legal.

2. "America's morality, credibility, and reputation are on the line, so we have to bomb or be seen as a paper tiger."

My comment: America is already seen as a heavily armed paper tiger, whose morality, credibility and reputation have been destroyed by two recent wars in which we invaded, destroyed everything in sight, & killed uncounted numbers of the victim country's citizens (in Iraq their 100,000 plus, contrasted with our 4000 +-), but did not improve the situation much or at all. Bombs fail!

3. "This will be a limited action".

My comment: War is irrational, by definition out of control, and I don't think any honest person truly believes that a bombing raid on Syria will stay limited. What hokum! Attacking a country with allies is not the same thing as drone attacks on individuals without armies! We should take into account this possibility: a single bombing raid will not really stop Assad, and he will just go on to do more, while we will have lost the support of many in the international community who join us now in being horrified at the use of poison gas on the Syrian people. These countries can be mobilized for more effective action than lone bombing raids, if we will reach out to them with better options.

Stop the groupthink, Senators!

Susan C. Strong, Ph.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of The Metaphor Project,,  and author of our new book, Move Our Message: How to Get America‚Äôs Ear.  The Metaphor Project has been helping progressives mainstream their messages since 1997. Follow Susan on Twitter @SusanCStrong.

Originally posted to SusanCStrong on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 11:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Political Language and Messaging.

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