And that is what is so different about the proposed intervention in Syria. It is not primarily based upon American security concerns, but rather motivated by humanitarian concerns. I am not saying such an approach is wrong; I am personally undecided on the matter. What is incongruous is the man proposing this — and the way he will get a free pass from the media.
President Obama opposed the invasion of Iraq. He ran as the candidate who was going to wind things down and bring home the troops. Now the man who opposed invading Iraq (even when America thought it had security concerns in the face of Saddam’s insanity) supports an attack on a neighboring nation on the basis of humanitarian concerns.
Could you imagine the stink if George W. Bush had made such a suggestion? Those who support Barack Obama can freely do so no matter what he does. If a college student dared go public about approving of George W. Bush, his or her college professor would go ballistic; the supporter would become an object of screaming, mockery, sarcasm and insult (maybe even flunked). Barack Obama’s supporters still will have freedom of speech, Bush’s did not. Yet, from a logical viewpoint, Bush had more compelling reasons to attack Iraq than Obama does Syria.
The issue is not whether this evil Syrian regime should be brought down, but more a matter of who does it and how it is done. And maybe we should be involved. I don’t know. What seems odd is who is proposing an attack.
A decade ago I reminded readers the president knows much more than we know; he has access to classified information and studies that never reach our eyes. Syria, too. This explains why, in the realm of military actions, both Democratic and Republican presidents and their confidants (including Bush foe John Kerry) act pretty much alike. It is one thing to be in the Senate, another to have the responsibility and potential guilt of history-altering decisions. We don’t know what we don’t know.
Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.