Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The decision to go to war in Syria over the use of poison gas is a difficult one. It is so difficult that the leader of the people’s House cannot make a decision. Let me explain. Everyone has an opinion. First and foremost, people will base their decision on humanitarian concerns and not the immediate threat to the United States as if +Assad had intercontinental rockets loaded with one of several nerve gases such as tabun, sarin, or soman aimed at the United States, which would turn the decision to matter that falls under the +War Powers Act. The immediacy is not there.

The congress of the United States should be poised to make a decision but they are not doing it. However, Speaker of the House Boehner is using what he considers to be clever rhetoric to maneuver himself into a position to criticize whatever +Obama decides. He said that Obama has to consult with congress but the President has to make the decision. In other words, according to Boehner “the president has to base” his decision on the War Powers Act, which would be an obvious misapplication of that law but the most important part is that the Speaker could then say Obama misused the law.  

The president is a clever person, not a “knee-jerk decider”. The path to this decision should center on the financing any war or military action with +Syria. If the president said to congress that he would do nothing until congress approves an increase in taxes to pay for it, he will have boxed the Republican politicians into “putting up” of “shutting up”.  If he said to the congress that they would have to institute a system of drafting people into the military, at least it would make the American People think about their decision.

What was wrong with Vietnam; what was wrong with Iraq; and was wrong with Afghanistan was the presidents involved in making these decisions to go to war did not involve the American people by drafting their sons and daughters to be killed. In addition, George W. Bush fought “his” wars on borrowed money; money borrowed without authorization from congress; thus, helped to drive the country into a recession.

Of course, times have changed. War is less and less “boots on the ground” and more and more technology; killing by stealth with less and less collateral damage; killing noncombatants, what ever that means in a religious war. Making a surgical strike is somehow OK, but only if we call it a “surgical” strike—making killing people sound neat and clean. Even those of us who understand, killing people to prevent them from killing other people is somehow morally right. If we put killing in the context of “self defense”, meaning if is OK with us if our government applies harsh law but without distortions of interpretations motivated by religion or racism as recently happened in Florida with “stand your ground law”.

Obama is a brilliant but he is also a responsible person. Compare this to Speaker Boehner’s position. None of the above makes sense to the Mr. Speaker. The thing that matters to him is that the American people see him as having power, the guy with the oversize gavel in one hand and the Constitution in the other, and that he will decisively use that power to decide not to make the decision to go to war, the issue is too grave for the people to decide. No wonder congress approval is at 10%!

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