Making War is Our Worst Human Failure

Posted on Sep 30, 2013 by Steve Kagen

We should all be grateful that President Barack Obama, whom I consider to be my friend, has taken time to think the issue of making war against Syria all the way through and for asking to hear our opinions — brave actions recent presidents of these United States failed to do.

In effect, by asking Congress for authority to launch a military attack against people engaged in the Syrian civil war, Obama is asking all citizens to participate thoughtfully in our republic. His bold actions are reminiscent of western civilization’s first democratically elected leader of Athens, Solon the Lawmaker, who believed the greatest crime committed by any citizen was failing to participate in their own government.

Thinking things all the way through is an act of courage, for Obama knows inserting ourselves into another religious civil war is extremely unpopular here at home and worldwide.

The question is shall we make war with Syria?

To answer this, we must first ask if professional politicians are even capable of deciding if we should attack a nation that has not (yet) attacked us? The answer is no; Congress is incapable of answering this question.

Until Obama asked for their votes of approval very few members of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate read the meticulously prepared daily intelligence briefings, hardly ever. Doing so would have taken time away from their re-election activities and fundraising.

Current members of the House of Representatives have failed to rebuild our working class, failed to educate our children and failed to work intelligently to confront climate change; how can we trust them to make war?

Arguments to frighten Congress into endorsing military actions against Syria’s chemical weapons of mass destruction are being made. Everyone is against inhumane weapons, but won’t bombing Syria create a bigger mess?

It may be true that Syria has been a transit hub for violent extremists in Hamas and Hezbollah, and that the king of Syria slaughtered his subjects with poison gas.

It may also be true that Syria’s never-ending religious civil war is a threat to the best interests of our allies across the Middle East, and that Iran and Russia have sponsored atrocities in Syria and elsewhere.

It may be true that violent extremists are hoping President Obama uses American military might against Syrian army command centers and weapons of mass destruction, but isn’t it also true that weapons used against someone are often returned in kind?

There are no real winners in war, other than profiteers in what President Dwight D. Eisenhower called the military industrial complex.

If we send anything to Syria, it should be our prayers for peace, not rockets. Send Syria 20,000 peace talkers to talk them out of killing their neighbors.

Working together with China and Russia, the likely source of Syria’s poison gas, and members of the United Nations Security Council, America must lead the way forward peacefully. President Obama’s attempts to solve this crisis non-militarily will be loudly opposed by reactionary minds that have no faith in the United Nations or non-military solutions to complex human problems. The warmongers are wrong and Obama is right.

After all, the United Nations was designed to resolve human differences peacefully through conversations, not confrontations, and to prevent wars. The United Nations will succeed, when we join other nations in a peaceful coalition of the willing.

What the world needs now is more love and less hate; more truthfulness and less falsehood; and more courage and less fear.

I deeply appreciate President Obama for walking softly and carrying a big stick. I hope he succeeds in talking everyone out of making war. After all, we cannot afford to make war in the nuclear age – it’s too expensive.


Back to all editorials