Before the Bird/Dale football game last night (Bird 35-Dale 6), I had the opportunity to speak with a veteran Marine who had done several tours in Iraq and Afganistan. What he said about the Syrian situation surprised me.
In my previous post, I questioned what the goal of a two or three day bombing attack on Syria would be. I wasn’t and still am not clear on what we could reasonably expect to accomplish.
The veteran spoke in support of the bombing in order to get rid of the chemical weapons. He brought up two points I hadn’t considered.
First, I had been led to believe that if we bombed Syria’s chemical weapon supplies that we would release poison gas and kill many Syrians. The veteran explained that a bombing attack would turn the air into fire and burn up the gas.
Second, if we allowed the Assad regime to use chemical weapons, other governments and terrorist groups in the Middle East would be emboldened to acquire and use such weapons in future battles involving our soldiers. If we don’t eliminate Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons today, our soldiers might be subject to being gassed in the future.
What gives the veteran’s opinion some weight, beyond his combat experience, is that politics do not influence his opinion. He is a Republican and voted for Romney. His views have nothing to do with Obama. He is thinking about what is best for the country.
At this point, I’m still not sure what the best decision would be. Our leaders, Congress and the President, have more information about the situation than the average citizen. There are other issues to consider, such as how would we pay for a strike and, possibly, a new war. Considering the complexity and gravity of the situation, I’m reminded to pray for our leaders.
The exchange with the veteran also reminded me of several principles. Every controversy has legitimate points on both sides. Citizens need to inform themselves on the issues. Citizens need to discuss political issues with each other and their representatives.
The Syria situation forces life and death issues. Let’s not let our discussion of it or our leaders’ decision be undermined by partisan politics.