Parkland Press

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Another View

Thursday, September 12, 2013 by MARK RECCEK in Opinion

Before striking Syria, think about reasons first

Beat the war drums and huddle Americans together. Here we go again.

Over the past two weeks, President Barrack Obama has been busy presenting his case for a military invasion of Syria.

His spattering of public appearances and speeches, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently voting 10-7 to grant the president limited authority to use military force, puts us one step closer to placing our young men and women, and our reputation as a country in harm's way.

Town-hall meetings held by members of Congress throughout the country have revealed a public opposed to a strike.

American destroyers sit off the coast of Syria and Russian warships are on their way.

Syria now becomes our focused military target after troops were withdrawn from Iraq in 2011 and Obama announced in June the possibility of withdrawing military personnel from Afghanistan.

Have we not learned anything since our military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Worldwide opinion of America is at its lowest in history due in large part to our questionable resume of using military might to resolve differences in politics, governance and territory. Since 1963, the U.S. has led countless, significant invasions overseas every 40 months.

Military excursions include Vietnam (1964-75), Cambodia (1965-73), Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Panama (1989), Kuwait (1991), Somalia (1992-95), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1995), Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001-current), Iraq (2003) and Libya (2011).

Certainly, military force is justified when the rights and lives of others are at risk.

However, the country that decides to use such force must first do due diligence by ensuring its justifications for war and military use are proper and factually flawless.

Is Obama and the administration's reasons for striking Syria proper and based on fact?

The administration claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have used chemical weapons on its own citizens.

According to Secretary of State John Kerry, if America does not intervene, these groups will strengthen, resulting in more harm to the country and in human bloodshed.

Are these justifications strong enough for invading Syria? Is this enough evidence to support a military strike?

Beyond words, what other evidence do we have to support an invasion?

Before a military strike, America should consult the United Nations and take into account any potential U.N. vote supporting or denying use of military force.

U.N support would bolster America's reasons for a military strike and perhaps garner greater worldwide support for an invasion.

Popularity among nations should not be the driving force in determining the use of military force, but it should be one factor among many factors used when evaluating a decision.

Another important factor includes our military men and women. While they are well-trained and primarily trained to protect and defend this country and the well-being and safety of countries allied with us, what we are asking of them?

To possibly sacrifice their lives should be a key point to consider.

Although Obama has publicly stated he will use no ground troops in a strike on Syria, it is still instructive to ask ourselves if another military intervention is worth placing a young American's life at risk.

We should all take heed of the words of the late Howard Zinn in his book titled "Terrorism and War":

"You go to war because you want to do something fast. You use violence because you don't want to wait. You don't want to work conflicts out. You don't want to use your mind, your intelligence, your wit."

As the defender and leader of of democracy and human rights across the globe, America should consider putting as much time and energy into a diplomatic solution as we do into war.

The solution should use our minds, our intelligence, our wit and, far more importantly, our heart and compassion for humanity.

Mark Reccek

editorial assistant

Whitehall-Coplay Press

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