Making the decision to ask my Representatives in Congress to vote "no' on the Syrian resolution is not an easy nor comfortable. For days, I have been having conversations with friends and within in my own head what is the appropriate position and one that is our national interest.
Why is it is damn difficult?
First and foremost, it is almost impossible to look at the photographs of the victims of the chemical warfare attack and not want anyone who was partially responsible hung up by their thumbnails for life. The row after row of children and families who died this horrible death is appalling an literally sickens any human being.
Second, there is no question in my mind that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are searching for the right answers. Throwing the decision into the Congress of the United States made me very proud of both individuals. At last there is a healthy discussion about the use of violence and the people have a way to be heard. As a result, it is even harder for me to disagree with the President and the Secretary of State who I believe are coming from a very good place.
Third, somehow you want to show the people struggling in Syria the extent of our horror about their plight. Is to not bomb ignoring them and failing to send a powerful message?
Those questions haunt me but in the end I have decided that I will ask my representatives to vote 'no'.
1. First and foremost, I really can't see the scenario where there is any change for the better by taking this action. The fact is that the bombing could make the situation worse.
2. There will be absolutely no reduction of chemical weapons from the bombing since to bomb them would release them in the air. They can be still be used and what if President al-Assad decides to release some again. Then what will be our response? Escalation?
3. The United States government has made clear that President al-Assad will not be a target and regime change is not part of the bombing strategy. So he will still be there in all of his glory.
4. There is always a chance the bombing could kill as many civilians as the gas attacks.
5. The bombing could unleash a reign of terror from Iran to Iraq (where 5,000 Americans died) to Syria. There likely will be more terrorists attacks on US soil and around the world. In addition, there could be total chaos beyond what already exists in the Middle East. Is a two day symbolic campaign worthy of perhaps unleashing this monster even further?
6. It simply is not in our national interest. While the moral truth of responding to such an outrage feels good the fact of the matter is that horror circles the globe. Six million have died in the Congo, The Central African Republican has become total anarchy. The monks of Burma are launching a campaign against the religious minorities in Burma and it is totally ugly. The list could go on and on and America can't respond to each and every outrage. Our policy must be one of 'national interest' in the long term.
7. While the death of 1,400 by chemicals is horrifying are their deaths any less important than the 99,000 who died before them in Syria? Why hasn't there been a more planned response over the last two years for regime change?
8. The toppling of the Syrian government now will not end the struggle for power as militant Islamic extremist will move into position to take power. They will have learned from Egypt and the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood and as a result the battle to succeed al-Assad will be bloody and ugly.
9. If our allies in the Middle East such as Turkey, the Saudi's, etc - feel so strongly about it then let them bomb. After all, we have spent billions of dollars providing them planes, weapons and training.
10. Finally, the cost of these military campaigns around the world is preventing America from becoming great again at home. The best message we can give the world about freedom and democracy is to make our own nation a shining light. We are behind almost the entire first word is healthcare, education, rebuilding our infrastructure, feeding our hungry children and cleaning up our environment. It is time to make America great again as a model to inspire billions around the world.