Miller: Where is the line, Mr. President?
Special to the Tribune
“There is no military solution to the war in Iraq. Our troops can help suppress the violence, but they cannot solve its root causes. And all the troops in the world won’t be able to force Shia, Sunni, and Kurds to sit down at a table, resolve their differences, and forge a lasting peace. In fact, adding more troops will only push this political settlement further and further into the future, as it tells the Iraqis that no matter how much of a mess they make, the American military will always be there to clean it up.” — then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, 2007.
Now replace the word “Iraq” with “Syria” and explain to me how the situations aroe so very different, President Obama.
Why now? Were 10,000 dead Syrians not enough of a reason to go to war or is there a magic number that qualifies? Were the guns and bombs not deadly enough to meet the weapons requirement? Why not the genocides in Rwanda, Uganda? Or the small country of Georgia that begged for our help as the Russians invaded their borders? Have we truly become the country that allows our CIA assets to be taken prisoner by our enemies and turns a blind eye while Coptic Christians in Egypt are being burned alive? Or are we so weak that an Ambassador in Libya has to die while marines are told to spinelessly stand down?
The truth of the matter is frightening. We are a nearly bankrupt, down on our knees nation kissing China’s financial feet. Our military is exhausted from more than a decade of wars in the same region of the world we are about to re-enter. And no matter what we do, no matter what war we fight in the name of democracy and human decency, there will always be another dictator waiting in the wings for the one before them to fall. The Middle East has always been and may always be a region that struggles between tentative democracy and radical Islamic ideals.
With the constant weight of Russia’s and China’s votes stopping the United Nations from fulfilling their purpose, we are frequently forced into being the lone voice against the tyranny and human rights violations that forged this country’s history and democratic government in the first place. We may be a powerful country, but we cannot possibly police the entire world on our own. When we have tried, we have found ourselves caught in perpetual conflicts that no war can fully resolve and are sometimes hated by the same people we are fighting for. Despite our sacrifices, the tyrannical governments we’ve helped destroy are often replaced with governments that are just as corrupt. While we give billions in financial aid to these countries, they accept it with one hand and stab us in the back with the other.
Yet it is simply un-American to do nothing while thousands of human beings suffer and die. In a perfect world, Russia would stop selling weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and China would care more about human rights than the communist ideals it clings to. In a perfect world, the United Nations would end this civil war together and it wouldn’t matter whether there is oil or simple dirt underneath the ground on which innocent blood is spilled.
If we really want to make this world change for the better, then we need to get our own house in order first. We must balance our own budgets before we can bring balance to this world; every penny we borrow from China gives them power that they shouldn’t have. We must stop financially aiding any government that is not fully democratic or capable of standing on its own- buying our friends makes for disloyal allies.
Unfortunately, the time for debate has passed, unless Assad accepts the last minute bone that Secretary of State John Kerry threw to both Syria and our embattled President. In hindsight, we could have saved lives in Syria two years ago, but two years ago Obama had an election to win and millions of voters who were against another war. So gather your weapons and don your uniforms again, U.S. military. No matter how tired you are, your Commander-in-Chief has decided it’s time to fight again. Maybe your proof of chemical weapons, Mr. President, will hold up better than the CIA intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction did for President Bush. And perhaps the 2014 presidential candidates will be kinder to their predecessor than you were to yours.
— Tiffany Miller is a Tahoe resident and mother. Visit her website at http://mycrayonbox.org.
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