In our opinion
By the time you read this, events surrounding potential military action against Syria will have likely changed several times over. In the few days since the Cheney Free Press editorial board discussed the issue of a military strike against the Assad regime for its alleged use of sarin gas against its own people in the two-year-old civil war, events have swung dramatically.
For starters, some public opinion polls prior to last week indicated 9 percent of respondents were in favor of military action, rising to 25 percent if chemical weapons were used. An Aug. 27 Reuters poll indicated 28 percent of the 2,200 surveyed supported military action while 42 percent were against it and 30 percent said they didn’t know.
An NBC poll conducted by Hart Research Aug. 28-29 revealed 50 percent of respondents felt military action should not be taken, while 42 percent felt the opposite. But asked in the same poll if they supported limited air strikes, 50 percent said they did while 40 percent said no.
And 79 percent of respondents said President Obama should first seek congressional approval before launching military action, something the administration is now pursuing and receiving, with the qualified support of Republicans Sen. John McCain, Sunday and House Speaker John Boehner, Tuesday.
If it seems we’ve been down this road before, it’s because we have. Especially in the Middle East, where it seems we always keep drawing lines in the sand when it comes to the aggressive actions of governments, and they always seem to cross them, forcing military action.
When it comes to foreign policy, we seem to be inconsistent. Our goals and values change from region to region, country to country.
In the Middle East, the only thing for certain is we are the protector of Israel, even if the actions of that state run counter to our own beliefs about freedom and self-determination. We often seem to engage in actions without thinking things through. For instance, if military action in Syria leads to the fall of the Assad regime, who then will replace Assad? That didn’t work so well in Egypt, remember?
And it’s not just the Middle East. Central America and Southeast Asia are a couple other regions where our foreign policy goals focused less on the rights of people – remember our founding documents – then they did on such things as corporate interests and politics.
We also keep deluding ourselves about the reasons people attack us. They hate us because we have things they want, the talking heads keep telling us, but is this really true?
Think about the nature of our culture: reality TV, Miley Cyrus, over-consumption capitalism, fluctuating societal values to name just a few. No, if they hate us, it’s because we try to force our culture on theirs; that we live by a double standard of advocating for people’s rights of self-determination until it conflicts with our corporate monetary gains.
Remember the saying about the speck of dust in someone else’s eye while ignoring the log in your own? It’s time we find a way to take this saying to heart, and the situation in Syria could be a good starting point for such a discussion.
Otherwise, what good are we really doing in this world?