NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 2, 2013

We've had enough of war

As I See It
Richard Astukewicz

---- — At the end of World War I, the world’s nations rested, but what we got for our efforts were Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.

Eventually this led to World War II. It was estimated 20 million people died, 6 million Jews were executed in gas chambers. Europe lay in waste. For all our efforts, what we got was the spread of communism in the world and our 40-year cold war with the USSR.

The term “mutual mass destruction” was coined as the United States and Russia faced off in their development of nuclear arsenals.

Then came our involvement in the Korean War. For all our efforts, we got a “truce,” still in the annals of our wars, and a nation, North Korea, with starving citizens but with nuclear weapons a threat to the Far East nations.

France left Vietnam to us and we lost 58,000 of our men to a war we could not win and we left with our tails wagging in the wind. As I write (Sept. 10) we can read about terror attacks in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt. We fought for 10 years in Iraq, lost 4,000-plus men and women, plus thousands without arms and legs. For whom and for what did we fight for? Iraq is not more stable or on the road to any form of a democracy.

In 2014 we will leave Afghanistan and as soon as we leave, the Taliban, the Northern Alliance and the tribal rule will bring chaos to the Afghan people once again.

For six years we supported Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. For years we supported the Taliban and Osama bin Laden in the Afghan war against Russia. For whom and for what did we fight these wars?

In 1979, we aborted our support of the shah of Iran and now we have a nation creating havoc in the Middle East and on the road to a nuclear weapon.

In 2011 we aborted our support for Murabak in Egypt and now we may face a civil war between the Muslim brotherhood and the Egyptian Army. This had led to the Arab Spring, civil unrest in the region and the civil war in Syria.

Our president created his “red line” with Syria and its use of chemical weapons and wants to fire missiles against Syria. This is an act of war. If Syria were to fire missiles against our nation, would it not be an act of war? Certainly, the president has gone to Congress to get the votes he needs for the act of war against Syria.

At the same time he claims to have the right to attach through the War Powers Act. The president is not a king, he not a dictator, he is president and as such his oath of office was to uphold the laws of the nation.

The Constitution is clear: The president cannot go to war without the approval of Congress.

Syria is not a threat to our national security. Syria is a problem for the nations of the Middle East, it’s a problem for Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, for all the nations in that region. She is plain and simply not our problem, no way, no how.

Chemical weapons are a terrible act of war and have been banned by 180 nations and the United Nations.

If any action were to be taken against Syria it should be by an united front of world nations, not by our president.

In 1862 Major Gen. T.J. Jackson wrote, “It is painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. I have seen enough of it to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils.” I think this nation has had enough of “pain” these last 10 years. We need no more.

The Syrian war is a civil war and terrible, but it’s not our business. Just a note for the reader: In our Civil War we lost 600,000 American souls.

War is hell, and “only the dead will have seen the end of war” (Plato).

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Richard A. Astukewicz of Salisbury is a retired business manager.