I'm an old gay American with a really good memory. And I find the current discussion regarding military intervention in Syria to be a source of significant discomfort. How do I loathe it? Let me count ten ways.
1. When the President of the United States asks for the support of Congress before attacking a sovereign nation, I do not see that as a sign of weakness. I see it as sensible and prudent.
2. Why are elected officials framing the argument that the United States' international reputation will be harmed if we don't drop bombs? Why is it always about us?
3. The Middle East is a fetid hotbed of internal dissent. We are dealing with warring tribes who do not get along well and have not for centuries. It is incredibly naïve, and more than a little egotistical, to think that any external military intervention in Syria is going to fix that situation -- short or long-term.
4. For most Americans, the Syrian situation brings back hurtful memories of George Bush who sold us an Iraqi bill of goods based on bad intelligence, then ran an entire war off the books. Did we learn nothing in Iraq?
5. Does anyone remember the "Domino Theory" floated by Lyndon Johnson? This 1960s policy alleged the countries surrounding Vietnam would all fall to communism if we didn't fight and win the Vietnam War. It was proven bogus by history.
6. No one is saying the situation in Syria is not deplorable. But there was a time when African Americans were being lynched, hung from trees, and dragged behind pickup trucks for some real or imagined slight to the white ruling class. How would we have felt if someone dropped bombs on Selma or Montgomery, Ala. in the 1950s?
7. While Washington plays politics, how many gay and lesbian members of the military, now serving openly for the first time in history, will be asked to give life or limb in support of a mission with dubious authority and deadly impact?
8. The United States maintains the largest and most expensive contingent of armed forces in the world. Yet we tell our children that "might does not make right." Why is this wise old adage so clear when we look at the actions of the Syrian government, but so obscure when we look at ourselves?
9. How long can the United States continue to pose as the guardian of the world and arbiter of moral and political integrity when we can't get our own house in order enough to agree upon critical legislation to improve the plight of average Americans?
10. Why is it in situations like the one we now confront, we never ask ourselves, "What would Switzerland do?"
Right now, I'm feeling pretty Swiss.