Thursday, September 05, 2013

Facebook and Syria

I've thought about this a long time. There are so many things on the Web about Syria and our future course of action, that I hesitate to put my opinion out there. And yet I feel compelled to share my confused thoughts.
Like many Americans, I get news, laughs, friendship, and questionable information from Facebook. I check it every morning. Also like most Americans, Syria looms on my mind, and I’m conflicted. Today, I saw two graphic postings on Facebook that struck me: the first was a political lampoon: “Last week Fox News demanded President Obama get congressional approval to bomb Syria; this week they’re outraged that he asked for congressional approval.” The second, with a clear picture of destruction reminded us: “Pearl Harbor: Not an act of war. Just a random air strike. No boots on the ground.”

I’m on the side of peace, of talking things out, negotiating. I am opposed to war and killing, and I’m baffled by the dictum of death as punishment for killing. I’m like the little boy—Facebook again—who said, “You’re telling me your country is going to bomb Syria because Syria bombed Syria?” I don’t think the U.S. has to be the policeman of the world, and I fear being drawn into another Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. I trust President Obama when he says “no boots on the ground,” but I’m not sure that makes a difference. I’d like to know that only military installations or WMP storehouses will be targeted. More than enough men, women and children have died in Syria already, and I shudder at the thought of more deaths on the U.S. collective conscience.

I’m no military strategist, but it strikes me as a little ludicrous that Congress is publicly debating what to do—while the world watches. Haven’t we lost the surprise factor? Did Japan have a public debate before Pearl Harbor? Was John McCain really playing games on his phone during the debate yesterday (that’s another of those Facebook posts you never know whether to trust or not). Facebook again: “We got to be the only country that sends out ‘save the date’ notices for an attack.”

On the other hand, I can’t bear to look at the pictures of all those bodies in Syria and think of the monstrous intent behind such an act. If we are to have a civilized world—and we all live in this world where isolationism is no longer possible—we cannot allow such heinous attacks to continue unchecked. Humanity compels us to take action (not going to get into comparing this to the non-existent WMD in Iraq). Would an attack change things? I don’t know. Can we just wave our hand and say, “Oh, too bad”? I don’t think so.

I’m certainly glad I don’t wear the President’s shoes? Have you noticed he’s aging?


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