Syria and Iraq: Bravado you can feel

I made the terrible mistake of supporting Bush W’s bravado-infested foray into Iraq in 2003.  I should not have supported it.  If I knew then what I know now about our nation’s founding principles I would have flatly rejected the adventure.  But I didn’t.  And so I did.  Shame on me.

I remember 2003 and the war drums thumping.  Initially, I was not completely sold on the idea of the war.  Then, when the U.N. weapons inspectors appeared thwarted by Saddam Hussein—thumbing his nose at the U.S. led coalition—my bravado was triggered.  My pride.  My pride was coming off a bruising after our disgraceful handling of the so-called Afghan war in response to the 9-11 attacks.  I was absolutely disgusted Bush W refused to commit U.S. boots on the ground to dispatch Al Qaeda and Taliban forces; instead he cajoled the northern Afghan rebels into doing the job rightfully ours. Remember?  It was our job.  It was our responsibility.  It was our war to fight.  It was our honor and national security.  Our job was to destroy Al Qaeda and those who supported Al Qaeda.  Our commitment to defending our own national security in Afghanistan was abysmal.  Just shameful.  After that disgrace (and 9-11) I was chomping at the bit to give someone a serious thumping.

Finally, when the U.S. tanks starting rolling into Iraq in 2003, I was deeply saddened.  I remember exactly where I was that day.  For a time that day I retreated to my spare room to resume work on an oil painting.  Playing music.  Loud.  Then, unexpectedly, I cried.  I cried for our nation and the losses to come.  The Iraq war was wrong.  But mine was a proper and mature emotional response to the spector of war.  I had to swallow hard and admit I was wrong.  It was my pride—my bravado—that did me in.

So, here we are on the edge of yet another U.S. military action.  In the Middle East, no less.  Albeit, the scale of U.S. commitment is significantly less.  But, can you feel it?  Can you feel the bravado?  Can you see how NOT abiding our Constitution as it was written and intended is leaving absent our checks and balances?  Can you feel how arbitrary this pending decision to let loose an offensive attack feels?  It’s downright arbitrary.  To do what?  Send “a message”?  What kind of policy is that?  That is the whimsical arbitrary fancies of an unchecked dictator free from the rule of law.

Shame on Fox News for walking point for Bush W on the Iraq war.  Fox News fully supported the Republican administration.  Now in 2013, on the eve of a U.S. missile strike on Syria, Fox News is pensive, skeptical, reluctant, and cautious.  It’s disgusting to watch.  Fox News’ objectivity is compromised by its lack of principles.  Their only saving grace as a news organization is the other networks are worse.

It is beyond comprehension a nation would unleash chemical weapons on their own citizens.  That’s the allegation.  The plight in the Syrian civil war is tragic.  An estimated 100,000 dead, men, women, and children.  Terrible.  Should we, the U.S., respond?  Yes, of course.  In fact, we should have responded more forcefully earlier—non-militarily.

As the world’s super power, we have tremendous influence diplomatically and economically.  Not all-powerful influence, but tremendous influence.  It’s hard for the average American to know the impact—intended or unintended—a global goliath like America has on a small country producing a fraction the GDP of one U.S. state.

The military option is the last option, available only when our national security is directly threatened.  Requiring of course a formal declaration of war.  Syria is suffering a civil war.  Our national security is not directly threatened.

If you are a constitutional conservative, and you’re not sure how to come down on confusing and pressing issues domestic and foreign, knowing the right thing to do is easy to figure out.  All you have to do is listen to Senator John McCain, and do the opposite.

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