As the Sept. 11 anniversary approaches, politicians in Washington are ignoring America’s problems in favor of looking to the Middle East. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve air strikes in Syria to destroy chemical weapons and weaken the Syrian Army and Air Force. Undoubtedly the weapons delivery systems, if they exist, have been moved to heavily populated areas.
Although the Obama administration is absolutely sure Bashar Assad has used weapons of mass destruction on Syrians, it has yet to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Assad’s forces used the chemical weapons. Washington is taking the terrorists words for it. That doesn’t seem too smart.
Some call Assad a war criminal for butchering 125,000 Syrians with sarin gas. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a smart bomb. If U.S. bombs fall in urban areas, and release sarin, how many thousands will die? Doesn’t the command-and-chief then become the war criminal?
Sens. Barbara Milkuski, Ben Cardin, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner and Reps. Gerry Connolly, Frank Wolfe, Jim Moran, Donna Edwards, Chris von Hollen and Steny Hoyer should vote against the United States declaring war on Syria. Under international law bombing a country is an act of war.
When last the United States had a “slam dunk” moral reason to send troops around the world to fight terrorism, the weapons of mass destruction the Bush administration assured us existed were never found. In other words, we were lied to.
Since then, Washington has spent, through Sept. 11, 2012, $570 billion and lost more than 2,000 troops. During Obama’s years, 2009-2012, the dead have increased nearly three-fold and the spending has nearly doubled. Are there any military victories to show for it? Osama bin Laden is dead. Five hundred seventy billion dollars and 2,024 U.S. lives later Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria are in civil war. Whichever side wins will be anti-American.
More than 16,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan between 2007-2012. Another 3,000 were killed in the first half of this year. Only 9 percent were destroyed by allied forces.
One organization claims more than 125,000 Iraqi civilians may have died in that country since 2003.
Two lessons America should have learned in Vietnam, but didn’t, are always know what you are fighting for, i.e. what is victory, and what is your exit strategy. What do we hope to win in the Middle East?
In today’s economy a Defense Department budget of about $3.7 trillion this year is simply too big. America cannot be the world’s policeman.
Nor can the United States afford to ignore its looming infrastructure catastrophe. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure concludes U.S.:
2. Drinking water;
4. Schools; and
5. Wastewater management systems
are all nearly ready to fail.
ASCE estimates it would cost some $1.45 trillion to fix these areas of the infrastructure. The association cited plenty of other things that need work; these five were just the worst. Maybe it is time to pull U.S. troops out of Europe and the Middle East and use the money saved fixing America.