Bad Guys vs. Bad Guys - The Missourian: Editorials

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Bad Guys vs. Bad Guys

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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:32 pm

As the debate on whether the United States should bomb Syria rages on and on, there is agreement on one point: Both sides are the bad guys. The forces with the rebels include those with al-Qaida links. Are they as bad as the Assad regime that the rebels are trying to eliminate? The records of both sides are much the same — savages!

The Obama administration believes Assad used chemical weapons on innocent people. Yes, some form of punishment should be leveled if the proof we have is reliable. However, the United States has waited so long in making a decision, would an attack be successful since Assad has had plenty of time to prepare for one? The element of surprise has gone with the political winds. A strike would be justified based on the evidence of use of chemical weapons, but we must never commit ground troops, and we must not get into a prolonged engagement.

We should profit in our thinking about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a lesson there that we must not ignore.

It would be different certainly if it would be the good guys vs. the bad guys. We don’t have that kind of situation and that’s why the decision-making is quite a challenge.

We have had presidents in the past who would have acted by now if in the same situation. We believe Harry Truman would have launched a strike or two. But we don’t think he would do more based on the circumstances in Syria today. But he would have made the decision to send a message about the use of chemical weapons, which the international community banned many years ago. Of course, that’s just an assumption. Probably George W. and Father Bush would have acted more decisively.

Americans are war-weary. But at the same time there is concern about our reputation, status in the world, appearing unsteady, even befuddled, and leadership that can’t make up its mind, and exhibiting weakness.

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