I get that Americans are war-weary, and I’ve never been a proponent of war. But the situation in Syria really warrants some deep contemplation.
I thought Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird gave us a lot of food for thought in this interview with The Toronto Star. When we see the horrific pictures from Syria, we really should be asking ourselves, “Are we just going to let this happen?” If we have the power to change this, why wouldn’t we?
Baird was right to defend President Barack Obama when he said:
Does anyone believe that President Obama is trigger-happy? Does anyone believe he has been looking for an excuse to get into this conflict? I don’t know anyone in the world who will say he has been looking for an excuse to get involved in this campaign.
And I also agreed with Baird’s criticism of the United Nations, unable to make any fast decisions, mired in its own bureaucracy and politicization: “You don’t need to the stamp of the UN for something to be right.”
I thought it was a brilliant political move by President Obama to defer the final decision to Congress. While his critics decried him for being weak, he was really testing the courage of Congress and giving them the ultimate challenge to finally show some maturity and surmount bi-partisanship. For all the criticism – especially among Republicans – of Obama’s foreign policy, Congress will now be held accountable for the decision, whatever that may be. And while voting against an attack may buy them more votes in the next election, they will have to live with this decision on their conscience knowing they had the power to change things, and opted not to. It’s very easy to say ‘no’ to war when you’re not the President of the United States. But when you are the President of the United States, people expect you to defend right versus wrong. Americans – and the rest of the world – can’t have it both ways.
In the words of Baird: “What will people say when they see 25,000 children, men and women foaming at the mouth, their nerves jerking as their lungs dissolved?” Have we learned nothing from World War I? Did the Geneva Protocol mean nothing?