NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

September 7, 2013

Obama's approach to Syria unites Americans -- in opposition

Heading into fall after a long, hard summer of political debate, following roughly five years of Americans being divided by race, creed, shades of color, sex, age and partisan inclination, we have good news about America: We are united again. Democrats, independents and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, who had already begun to find common ground over the NSA violation of our privacy, are speaking out together about involvement in Syria. We are reaching across our aisles!

And finally, many more of us are sharing a valid skepticism about what we are told by our government.

Some of us acquired that skepticism when we were lied to during the Vietnam War. Others picked it up more recently, with the outrageous Benghazi cover-up. Some responded to the news of a chemical weapons attack in Syria with doubt that it ever happened, or at least doubt about which combatants in the civil war did it.

According to the most recent NBC poll, a strong majority of us disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the situation in Syria. Even when he was preparing to make a unilateral presidential decision for unilateral national action there, 80 percent of us wanted him to consult our representatives in Congress.

Enjoying the rare feeling of being in the majority, I called my U.S. senators and Congressman Tierney last Friday, asking that at least they demand a vote of Congress before attacking Syria. On Saturday, Obama asked for that vote.

Now that Congress will be having a debate on Syria, I hope these questions will be asked:

Why are we involving ourselves in another country’s civil war, again? What have we accomplished in Libya and Egypt except to get an ambassador and Navy Seals killed and America’s fundamentalist Muslim enemies empowered?

If the issue, as Obama claims, is only that the world community can’t allow the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, why did we all accept their use to kill 5,000 Kurds in 1988? We did eventually go to war against Saddam Hussein, but that wasn’t the reason.

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