Given the wars we are embroiled in now, it might seem far fetched to think that any leaders in Washington, DC would even entertain the idea of taking part in another conflict. If you listen to the chattering class and/or pay attention to what they are chattering about, you might have noticed an uptick in conversation about military action against Syria and/or Iran. Reports out of Syria indicate President Assad may have begun using chemical weapons against his own people. By doing this, the regime has crossed the "red line." The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee had this to say on Face the Nation:
If you watch MSNBC, and I sincerely hope you watch less of it than I do, you might have caught the documentary Hubris: the Selling of the Iraq War, which has been practically been playing on a loop along with a panel discussion of the documentary. The book is really worth reading. It was written by Michael Isikoff and David Korn -- also if you are in the mood to take a trip down memory lane, Ron Suskind's One Percent Doctrineis a really terrifying look into the mind of Dick Cheney.
The bottom line is that he treated every threat that had even a one percent chance of happening as needing immediate and harsh action. I am not sure what color the sky is in his world and hope to never find out.
Now, I have issues with some of President Obama's policies vis-à-vis drones and Guantanamo Bay. I think we have given our government too much power with the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). At the end of the day, however, I trust him and his administration. The war cheerleading section that made up Dubya's inner circle is absent from the Obama White House. Having said that, one lesson we may not have learned from Iraq is that once our armed forces start seriously planning for war, it's really hard to pull them back. The president needs to be able to keep any and all options on the table but I worry that by the time the public starts focusing on these two countries, it may be too late. I do not envision us acting unilaterally but the current state of things makes me really nervous.
One thing I don't do often is make predictions so I am not going to make one now. I will let you know that in 1999 when George W. Bush first started talking seriously about running for president (it might have been in 1998), my reaction was that if he ran and won, we'd end up going to war with Iraq. Paul O'Neill, his first Treasury Secretary later said that in their first cabinet meeting in 2001, George W. Bush kicked it off with a discussion of how to get rid of Saddam Hussein.
In any case, if you are as concerned about the situation in Syria and Iran, now is the time to let your representatives in Washington know.
Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121
House of Representatives switchboard: 202-225-3121
I am also a big fan of writing letters to the editor. If you would like to write one and/or would like assistance with that or have questions about the best way to get it published, please let me know. Also, if you write some and get them published, please share them and I will link to them in an upcoming post.