Dear President Obama,
Let me start by reiterating to you one of the reasons you were elected in 2008 and one of the many which I gladly took into consideration as I exercised my constitutional right to pull that lever and engage in our democratic system.
"The President does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation"
-Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, 2008
I often hear Mr. President that speeches made by candidates can sometimes come to a full reality check when confronted with actual governing, the intricacies of international politics as well as the inconvenient truths of security debriefings. Once in a position of power with the responsibility to make decisions based on the security of our nation, it seems the tunes change as fast and as easy as campaign promises are made.
A hesitant warrior can be presented with the ultimate sacrifice of compromising ideals in the face of the need to act. It can also be argued that a leader does not have to act and that way avoid representing something that he or she does not believe in.
I understand that it is imperative that we follow through once a warning is given but the question that should be asked is: Why are we continuously putting ourselves in a position to give ultimatums to other countries involved in a civil war of their own? Our history shows that we would not have appreciated any involvement in our own War of Independence or Civil War.
It would be wise to recall Mr. President that our own War of Independence was a civil war with the British Empire, with France, Spain and the Netherlands joining in support of the rebels between 1778 to 1780. A perfect example of how a Civil war turned into an international affair.
I think Mr. President that we should look at this from the perspective of a war weary nation that does not have the treasure, animus or fortitude to continue to do battles across the world in conflicts that do not directly affect us until we get involved and incur the animosity of the adversely affected side.
I understand the argument of isolationism and how it possibly affected our non involvement and ultimately the attack on September 11th and the twin towers, but that argument is flawed. It was the continuously meddling of the US in Iraq with support for Saddam Hussein, In Iran with support of the Shah and the continuous support of Mubarak in Egypt among many many mistakes that was the catalyst now and then. It is our past flawed international policies that have created our current debacles and quagmires in the Middle East.
Yes Israel has the right to exist and coexist in peace with its neighbors but never at the cost of the Palestinian people and never under the pressure of political interests.You promised us an era of new diplomacy in which America not only did accept responsibility for past mistakes but promised to move in a direction of reconciliation, positive engagement and acceptance. Our foreign policy can not be determined and guided by our need to continue to be a super power.
Other empires have fallen by forgetting the most simple rule of survival: power does not have to be demonstrated at a unattainable pace when the gambit is the loss of treasure, the loss of impartiality but most of all the loss of the real moral ground: one that is exhibited by example and not by the arm twisting of a Tomahawk missile or a destroyer.
How ironic Mr. President that we name a weapon of destruction after one used by the Indigenous members of our nation to fight the aggression and assimilation by colonialists.
I also hear Mr. President the comparison to our failure to act in other instances like Rwanda. Rwanda was a civil war but moreover it was a genocide and action was required and yes Mr. President we were late there as well as in the Sudan.
Let me try and help you put things in perspective. With the extreme needs we have here in our country where our money can be better spent it would be a serious default to the american people and our Democracy to move forward with such an unnecessary use of our treasure. I despair when I hear Secretary Hagel talk about the small expense that a strike would cost. A Tomahawk missile costs $1.5 million dollars, the total Pentagon budget for the fiscal year is $527 billion dollars and the possible cost of the strikes could go upward of $300 million dollars. Please remember that the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is $1.2 trillion dollars so far.
When county after county in our nation is faced with cuts to schools budgets, Head Start services, mental heath departments, library hours, Fire department emergency response teams, road repairs and accessibility to a post high school education, the cost can not be justified or defrayed.
We have over $1 trillion dollars worth of needs for infrastructure repairs in this country, the Federal government support to the total school budgets is only 8.5% of their total budget and our total outstanding mortgage obligations are $13 trillion dollars. Our Mental health clinics are underfunded by close to a half of their needs and more and more people fall below the poverty line.
We voted for you Mr. President to be an object of change. Not only at the international stage but at a national level as well. We waited 4 years for you to be re-elected Mr. President and take charge with us of the future of our country without the fears of re-election and with the clarity of a national mandate. A country that self sacrifices in order to achieve greatness is a country on the right path. This can not be said while bombs are dropped in Syria, while we continue to give money to Egypt, while we look the other way at the expansion of settlements in the Gaza strip. The list goes on and on. A moral majority can only be achieved by a steadfast stewardship and the impartiality of our convictions and actions but never by the posturings of self aggrandizement or the politics of necessity.
Simply put Mr. President: We have bigger fish to fry.
I know as a Veteran, that there is nothing more sacred after the respect for human life than the security of our nation, the well being of our people and the endurance of our Democracy, but we ourselves need to draw a red line in the sand. Give me an example of why we should deviate and vacillate from your statement in 2008 and I will join the line and support you.This red line can not be forged with blood , tears and aggression but with the hope of a better tomorrow via diplomacy. A moral high ground cannot be attained via more death. I understand the severity of the human crime with the use of chemical weapons but we still have Napalm B arsenals and not all our chemical weapons have been destroyed as well as the creation of the newer MK-77.
I respectfully ask you Mr. President to rise above the rhetoric, to move away form the pressures of what feels like an obligatory choice, to walk away form the need to rattle a saber in order to commence a conversation and make the choice for the path of least resistance and the road less traveled. Give the Russian proposal a chance, allow Syria the ability to walk away from the possibility of more destruction to its country and citizens and allow the international war crimes criminal court to take the possible charges against Assad. Continue to engage the United Nations.
Yes Mr. President continue to keep an eye for the possible dangers to our country and continue to uphold our moral ground but from a higher example and not from the barrel of a gun. Continue Mr. President to focus on our infrastructure, our health programs, our schools, our environment and our economy since there is no might of sword or weapon that can save a country in ruins and without a future due to internal negligence and growth.
Allow me to see again Mr.President that glimpse of an unrealized future which I saw on election night 2008 when you walked on stage and promised us a new beginning. That Mr. President is how you make us proud and strong.
George David Perezvelez
A proud American