President Obama, after first announcing the United States was taking military action against the country of Syria, changed his mind, and invited a debate within Congress.
I congratulate the President for taking this step. If there is a chance one American is going to die in a military action, and if there is not an immediate threat to our country, it is important the matter be debated at length.
Our first rule should be that we stand with our friends and ignore our enemies until there is a hostile act against this country. The country of Syria is neither a friend nor a foe. Just because we don’t like actions taken by the government of Syria, we have no right to demand this country conform to our beliefs.
Second, there must be a goal in mind when we send our military into harm’s way. The suggestion we take military action with assurances there will not be troops on the ground, the action will be limited, and our goal is not changing the regime, strikes me as odd. Telling an enemy we are going to take limited action for a limited time or until a specific time got people killed in Vietnam. Specific exit dates are getting people killed in Afghanistan right now because the Taliban know we are leaving. How does it know? We told them. This is a course of action which speaks of politics and not war.
Third, the military’s job is to break things and kill people. Its men and women are not ambassadors, they are warriors. There is a reason police officers moved away from firing warning shots: Either take action or don’t. There is a reason to defend your country's interest or there is not. Half steps speak of weakness.
Fourth, the military is not a civilian jobs corps. When our young men and women are asked to fight in a foreign country, they should fight until the enemy surrenders. Once the war is over, the Peace Corps would be a better choice for building a civilian government and infrastructure in the defeated country.
America once believed in talking softly and carrying a big stick. In our recent past, politicians have talked big and then limited the size of stick the military could use. Politicians are charged with identifying an enemy and once they finish this task they are done. The military should never face “safe” areas, no fire zones or other restrictions. These are civilian ideas and hamper the military.
Count me as one vote against action in Syria. When our country is in danger, when we are attacked and when we have a clear enemy, then we can viciously attack and defeat the enemy. Until then, let’s bring our kids home.