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home : blogs_old : press pass November 20, 2014

Press Pass
By Tim Wiederaenders
Daily Courier Editor Tim Wiederaenders shares his insights.
Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Avoid quicksand in strike against Syria

Tim Wiederaenders

The Associated Press
Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., testify Tuesday concerning the crisis with Syria.

The United States is knocking on the door of war and, while the right thing to do is not turn a blind eye to the killing of innocents by chemical means, this country does not need another Afghanistan or Iraq.

Facing our lawmakers are several sides to this debate of whether we strike against Syria:

• "President Obama is not asking America to go to war," Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. "This is not the time for armchair isolationism. This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter."

• House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Tuesday that a failure to respond to the use of chemical weapons "only increases the likelihood of future WMD (weapons of mass destruction) use by the regime, transfer to Hezbollah, or acquisition by al-Qaida."

• Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky: "While we are learning more about (President Obama's) plans, Congress and our constituents would all benefit from knowing more about what it is he thinks needs to be done - and can be accomplished - in Syria and the region."

• Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said, "It may sound real easy when people like Secretary Kerry say that 'it is going to be quick and we're going to go in, we're going to send a few cruise missiles, wash our hands and go home.' It doesn't work that way. This could be a war in the Middle East, it's serious."

Let's take these in reverse order. While no one said it is not serious, Inhofe is correct on at least one point - thinking you can just order some missile strikes and everything will be fine is looking at the situation while wearing colored glasses. We cannot predict what will happen. Further, McConnell is right that Obama must spell out, at least to Congress, what needs to be done as well as what he thinks can be accomplished.

For Cantor, that is the closest I have ever heard someone truly tell us how this affects the United States. We should not be the global police; however, how it could harm us needs to be clear.

And, all of the above culminate with Kerry's comments. We must take care not to step into a quicksand operation that becomes a war, yet we should never merely watch people being slaughtered.

The hard part is how everyone is linking this to the past.

As Obama has often noted, the country is weary of war after more than a decade of combat deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, and there is residual skepticism a decade after Bush administration claims went unproven that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. To combat that, maybe we - or, again, at least our lawmakers - need the administration to prove 1,400 people died from a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb.

While the world waits for results from U.N. soil tests at the site, none of this is going to be easy.

SIDE NOTE: Maybe the Bush administration critics should be looking at is the first Bush, whose attacks in Iraq were more surgical missile strikes than troops.

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

Secretary Kerry, I don't recall hearing your voice calling for intervention when millions were being butchered in Rwanda, Darfur or West Africa. I don't recall hearing you demanding aid to Somalia when millions were dying there.
You are a money-grubbing hypocrite, just like the others who want to bomb Syria.
Follow the money people..if there's money to be made, our politicians are all in. If there's no money to be made, too bad...fend for yourselves.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Tongue-in-Cheek -All in a name

Remember the good old days when these same war hawks called Iraq "weapons of mass destruction"? Now they have renamed the same weapons " Chemical Warfare.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: NE MO

OBAMA is becoming a "tin cup" president, asking other countries to support his disaster plan. Glad I didn't vote for him, this is his war alone, not Bush's.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Don't Agree

Anyone else see the ridiculous Obama press conference in St. Petersberg. It was pathetic, with Obama hemming, hawing, umming and generally avoiding answering most of the questions posed to him that were on point. It was an embarrassment, even by his standards. Congress should vote No. This is amateur hour.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

Most Republicans are only against it because they oppose anything from Obama, but this is indeed a bad idea. There is no end game and there is no ally in Syria to support. We should go with the UN.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Anudder Finemess

Here is more good news:



Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

America is not a Democracy. It is a Republic. I get it.

But regarding the mess in Syria, the People are sounding off "loud and clear" in their opposition to military involvement. In the face of this opposition, the President, and seemingly the Senate, are rushing headlong to calamity.

How CAN this be?

God grant that the house remains firm in not endorsing this madness.

And God grant that if Obama then acts unilaterally, he is finally brought to book by the People.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Time For Regime Change - Here

Let's be clear. Americans are not war weary, we're war wise. And we're not armchair isolationists, we're armchair realists. We're also getting to be pretty government savvy.

Obama clearly thinks we're all naive and stupid, otherwise he wouldn't continue with his endless lies denying that the NSA is spying on everyone, and about so-called 'limited' military action in Syria. Limited? The President is either seriously delusional or the world's biggest liar.

We don't have a democratic government anymore - we have a military regime masquerading as one. They take us into military actions around the world, openly and covertly taking control of governments - exactly what they've done to our own government. It's our Military that contracts out the vast surveillance programs that spy on all Americans and the rest of the world, then lies about it with impunity.

Eisenhower warned us they would TAKE OVER our government and even had a name for it: the Military-Industrial Complex. This cabal has now become our 'national interest'. More wars, more spying, more profits, more lies, even if it takes us into WW3 and succeeds in financially collapsing our country. They'll be there with their cash to take advantage, just like they do when we collapse countries abroad.

Yes, it's time for action - a regime change of our own.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Back To Hell No, We Won't Go

Why is it that the U.S.A. thinks that they are the Global Police? How about letting other U.N. countries resolve the Syrian issue.

Hell No We Won't Go needs to be resurrected and become the 'new' U.S.A. mantra!

The U.S. can't take care of business in this country. Until issues are resolved here, keep your nose out of other countries business!

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Just Saying

Send all Congress people to Syria. Send the Children of all who vote for war.
Send Obama and his family.
They start something and they are going to have the whirlwind brought down upon them.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

@@Tom Von Deck: You might be right that the 200,000 figure is exaggerated. Gulf War 2 is at 114-125,000+ after ten years. It's hard to find the numbers for GW1, but I wouldn't be surprised if the war time and post-war civilian casualty count was a huge number. There was a declassified document from the pentagon that admitted to bombing water infrastructure and preventing them, through sanctions, from cleaning it. The numbers were quite high in cases of dysentery deaths. Depleted uranium continues to kill to this day.

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2013
Article comment by: Senator John 'Poker Face' McCain

McCain is a disgrace --- playing poker on his iPhone during the proceedings. I am losing my stomach for this, and all the while they are talking about lives and war. Senator, take your job seriously or get a different job.

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Article comment by: @ Tom Von Deck

My recollection is that the vast majority of Iraqi deaths in the first Gulf War were soldiers trying to defend the illegal, violent invasion and occupation of a sovereign, neighboring country. Sad but necessary.

It's interesting to ponder, though, whether a limited cruise missile attack on military and leadership targets in Baghdad on the eve of the invasion of Kuwait would have deterred Saddam.

Your figure of 200,000 Iraqi dead in that conflict is a gross exaggeration.

-- Moderate, independent, and proud of it

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Article comment by: I'm just sayin'

I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want this administration to get us into a war. There are too many liars, red lines, versions of what happened, what can be accomplished. I don't trust any of them.
Especially with John McCain on their side.

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

@Evidence Found: Finding sarin samples doesn't determine who deployed these weapons.

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

"SIDE NOTE: Maybe the Bush administration critics should be looking at is the first Bush, whose attacks in Iraq were more surgical missile strikes than troops."

Some estimates put the death toll for Gulf War I at 200,000. That doesn't include infrastructure damage and sanctions which killed many more thousands who contracted diarrhea from bad water and died from that. It also doesn't count the deformed babies and cancer deaths. It looked like a pretty light show on the news, then it just looked like a bunch of Iraqi troops surrendering, but that's nothing but ugly American journalism. And I mean UGGHLY American journalism.

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Tim's right, you have to have a goal, and end point spelled out at the outset. I'm against getting involved because it's unclear who in that sorry nation we are getting involved with. At least in Iraq we were leading a sector against Suddam. Here we are just maybe shooting in the dark. It seems more like we're doing something just because we said we would, with no goal.

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Article comment by: p q

There was a great article in the Atlantic on labor day "your labor day syria reader part 2" Very helpful inlaying out the facts, history, unknowns and the choices. Kind of goes along with this editorial. Look it up if you have the time...


Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2013
Article comment by: evidence found

Check the national news ---- the UN-UK team of scientists found sarin in the soil and clothes samples. Go get 'em!

Posted: Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Article comment by: DragonMaster 6

Numerous questions arise such as, who actually set off the chemical attacks. Was it Assad, Al quida or some other terrorist organization, or a terrible mis-fire from the rebels?
Is there really Sarin gas as evidence?
How can this be proved to the American people who actually reason while becoming politically involved and expressing to our politicians what we as Citizens desire as an end result of variable types of actions and the effects of cruise missile strikes.
What is the probable responses by another mid-east dys-functional countries leadership.
Are they joined with Iran, Russia, China and possible nukes?
Has the U.N. [inept-self-serving] approved and joined in forces.
These questions will go on and American Citizens who accept personal responsibility known as freedom are the only one's who can let OUR failed leadership know what we want NOW!

Posted: Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Article comment by: Rich Toms

The United States is knocking on the door of war and bored Johnny plays poker.What an embarrassment to Arizona. And then he defends himself, by making joke of it. War is no joke McCain.

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