Appearing before the student audience at Washington-Lee High School, Congressman Moran offered two reasons defining the moral obligation to act in Syria:
1. Inaction would diminish America's standing in the world
2. Inaction would undermine the Obama presidency
My Congressman from District 8 is bold in expressing support for action in Syria, but not unexpected because he is often aligned with the defense industry where many of his constituents are employed. Boldness comes from confronting opposition among many other constituents who are more liberal Democrats and who are opposed to the war.
At this point in the Obama presidency, many constituents have already written Obama off as a lame duck unless voters are inspired to give to him a more workable Congress in Election 2014.
Giving testimony today before the Senate, Secretary of State John Kerry said there were at least 11 incidents in which chemical and biological weapons have been used in the Middle East. Now, we are acting on the most recent use in Syria, and the Senator from Georgia grilled him with why no action was taken against the first instance and subsequent 10?
By failing to have a policy in place and having plans for enforcement, the U.S. appears untimely in the rendering of punishment. That is by comparison with Israel which has twice struck Syria for threatening military actions. Also by contrast, the UN fled the scene.
Congressman Moran mention moral obligations, and so I want to make a list of those.
“To say that an action is good is not the same as saying that it is obligatory. An action or type of
action may be encouraged or praised without being morally required. Similarly, we may judge an action to be morally bad without finding it strictly immoral or wrong. We may discourage an action or criticize it without regarding it as forbidden.”
List of moral obligations
- Mitigate international conflicts
- Combat human trafficking
- Help end civil war in Syria
- Address global hunger
- Promote just governance in developing nations
- Cut arms (nuclear arms)
- Act on global climate change
- Preserve the environment for future generations
- Promote democracy and freedom
- Secure the nation
This list is not exhaustive and is just a start. What might you add?
"Moran: America Has Moral Obligation in Syria
by ARLnow.com | September 4, 2013 at 10:00 am
Not taking military action against Syria would weaken the Obama presidency and would diminish America’s place in the world, says Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).
The congressman, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the military surge in Afghanistan, strongly supports a “surgical strike” against Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. The Syrian government, which is battling rebel forces, is accused of killing nearly 1,500 civilians in a chemical attack outside Damascus.
President Obama has called on Congress to authorize a military strike, but public support is still thin and congressional authorization is in doubt. Moran blamed former President Bush and the Iraq war for the lack of American public support and the recent vote by the British Parliament against military intervention in Syria.
“I was adamantly opposed to the invasion of Iraq because I knew that the information being presented was specious… we were cherry picking information to reach a conclusion that the administration had already come to,” Moran told ARLnow.com Tuesday afternoon. “What’s happening today, the vote by the British Parliament and the reluctance of the American people to respond to what [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad is doing in Syria is a direct legacy of the Iraq war… the fact that the world was deliberately misled by the Bush administration to go into a war of choice.”
On Syria, however, Moran is convinced.
“The evidence is irrefutable, that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against innocent people,” he said. “There’s no question in my mind about the verifiability of that information.”
“We have a responsibility to lead,” he concluded. “It’s not an option.”