The current situation in Syria is dire, to say the least. The images of children lined up head to foot on marble floors looked sadly like 'nap time' from preschool. Horrible. Sec. Kerry said, 'The killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it was inexcusable.'
The United States is currently in a dilemma of conscious. When Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on the Kurds back in 1988, BBC reported that thousands were dead. "Eyewitnesses have told of clouds of smoke billowing upward "white, black and then yellow"', rising as a column about 150 feet (46 metres) in the air." At that time, the United States did nothing to respond.
The UN has stated that the death toll of the current Syrian conflict to this point has been at least 93,000. This butchering has been accomplished by small arms and bombings. BBC:
Over 80% of those killed were men, but the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says it has also documented the deaths of more than 1,700 children under the age of 10. There were cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred - which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become." - OHCHR head Navi Pillay
A gruesome question is: isn't the act of intentionally killing and torturing children reason enough to engage, or is it purely a question of technique?
In regards to the proposed attack, I implore the U.S. Administration to delay any bombing campaign until the UN Inspectors have completed their mission of determining whether or not chemical weapons were used. I join United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in asking the United States to wait for the inspectors to complete their mission, which, according to Moon, should be within a few days.
This is the grizzly math of America assuming the role of world police force. If chemical weapons are indeed a U.S. line in the sand, then we need the UN inspectors to back up the claim. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has recently said that the bombings would not be about regime change, but to 'alleviate the overwhelming humanitarian suffering in Syria'. With the Iranian Parliament now voting to sue the CIA for their alleged role in the Iranian coup of 1953, the West's track record for picking sides in the region shouldn't be a part of this discussion. If the decision to bomb Syria is based solely on the Administration's desire to keep civilian killing within certain guidelines, then we have to wait for the UN Inspectors report. A recent poll shows how weary the U.S. is to engage in another conflict in the Middle East, with 60 percent saying we shouldn't intervene. We've been at war (or involved in the 'Overseas Contingency Operation', depending on if you want to use the current marketing term for the war) for 12 years. We've had enough. We want the troops home. But if this is a strategic bombing that could actually halt the use of chemical weapons, then perhaps it is worth doing.
Speaker John Boehner has asked the President 'how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America's credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy." Those are fair questions that need answers. If our action is a limited, direct response to the use of chemical weapons, then let the action be swift and effective - and only after the UN Inspectors have released their findings.
Brent Roske is an Independent Congressional candidate for California's 33rd District. Learn more at RoskeForCongress.com