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Syria

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Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 2:18 pm

Like most Americans, I am confused and torn about what we should do in Syria. Foremost in my thinking is the need for a clear picture of what our choices are. As a layman, having watched some of the hearings and having listened to President Obama’s national address, my understanding is this: In a civil war in which American backed rebels are trying to overthrow President Assad, the Assad regime used chemical weapons on it’s own people. Chemical weapons have been outlawed by the international rules of war since the atrocities resulting from their use in World War I. All warfare is brutal, but the effects of poison gas, in this case sarin gas, is especially horrific. Breathing apparatus is destroyed and the victims die not unlike fish pulled on dry land, gasping for life when there is none. It is a terrible fate to contemplate and thanks to modern technology, a fate which we have seen in Syria.

The solutions to the problem are being debated as I write this column. First President Obama planned to commit, with little backing from the international community, a military solution (i.e. surgical bombing strikes).

However, in the face of arguments from many of our allies, we have delayed, in hopes of a diplomatic solution. Therein lies another conundrum, because the main player in that solution would be Russia and Mr. Putin. This possibility makes sense only in the context that Syria is an ally of Russia, and President Assad’s strength is directly attributable to Russia’s sponsorship of his regime. So now Russia, China, France, England and the United States are conferring on how to end this seemingly unsolvable dilemma.  

Caught in history’s back draft, most Americans fear that surgical bombing strikes will put us, once again, on the slippery slope to engagement in another war, much like our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conversely, if this new development in terrorist tactics is not stopped now, with international agreement, the horrors of poison gas warfare may very well become a strategy in the future. No civilized society wants to contemplate the seriousness of that possibility.

If there is any positive possibility in this deadly serious situation, it might be this: (1) The president has now involved the Congress in the decision making process, which is a process that should have been place since World War II, and hasn’t been; (2) the president has also involved the American people in the decision making, which is evidenced by this column; (3) China and Russia seem to regard this dilemma as seriously as do the United States, France and England. For the first time, the Security Council of the United Nations may adopt a resolution backed by these major powers. If that happens, the possibility then exists that universally the main powers may be able to exert some control of what happens in the volatile regions of the world.

It is a Pollyanna scenario, but it is a possibility. Can it work? We are living in the contemporary footprint of history. What happens in the next six months could very well determine the destiny of the next generations. Let’s hope thinking, rational men and women come to the right conclusions. And let’s hope those thinking, rational people are all over the globe, including Bandera.

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