Editorial By Brian Woodward

“We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.”

― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Barack Obama

Times like this are when no one can possibly imagine the pressure that the President (as well as other top military and cabinet members) are under. No matter what President Obama chooses to do, some will assert that blood is on his hands. Geopolitics is a dirty, dangerous, and violent arena at times. Syrians are human beings just like us and 100,000 of them have already died in this civil war. Chemical weapons have been used, although there seems to be uncertainty as to who used them and who is in control of all of these weapons. The United Nations Security Council of course came to no consensus with China and Russia urging restraint.

However, the United States seems to have made up it’s mind that sufficient evidence exists. All of the media reports indicate that a strike of some sort is imminent. President Obama unequivocally stated "We have looked at all the evidence and we do not believe the opposition possessed nuclear weapons on – or chemical weapons of that sort. We do not believe, given the delivery systems using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks. We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out, and if so, then there need to be international consequences."

Britain’s Parliament voted to restrain from military intervention in Syria. This occurred even though Britain presented a legal case that President Bashar Al Assad's Syrian regime was guilty of at least 14 chemical weapons attacks on the rebels since last year.

Our closest ally Britain, despite officially charging the Assad regime for using chemical weapons multiple times will not engage due to parliament’s vote. The Russians and Chinese, whose human rights records within their own countries reak of abuse, have no interest in protecting it anywhere else, and habitually act only if it is in their direct interest.

That leaves the United States, as it often does, to be the ultimate arbiter, the one who decides whether and how intervention will occur in the region. The American people are quite weary of any further war in the wake of Iraq and Afghanistan.. However, these people that are dying are human beings just like we all are. Can we as inhabitants of this earth stand by and allow these atrocities to continue? Can we stand by and watch the coverage of dead bodies, the pictures of corpses by the tens of thousands? We have many times before. When and why do we choose to intervene? Although the use of chemical weapons is unprecedented and against international law, it has not been the means causing the bulk of death and destruction. Conventional weapons eliminate targets and kill at a much greater rate than do the sorts of chemical attacks used in Syria.

War is a terrible thing and yet for too many it is a way of life. Civil war and other mass atrocities have plagued the people of many Arab and African nations over the past centuries. It is difficult to find a dog in the fight for the United States in Syria. It is a mangled web of fighting between factions, none of which are certain to be friends of the United States or the greater will of the Syrian people. The case for war has been made in this urgent way due to this particular evidence of chemical weapons use. Then the President, rightly so, announces that he will ask Congress to debate the measure before moving forward with any action. However, Congress does not return until September 9th at 2 P.M. How about asking, or more forwardly, demanding that Congress go into special session. Tell them to suspend their recess, if the use of military force is on the table, time is a prescient factor, a definite yes or no from Congress is needed as soon as possible.

It is an unfortunate reality of the world that unjust and oppressive force is most effectively countered with superior force. When the helpless are unable to overcome the injustice by themselves should America attempt to help or just sit back and let them die? Is civil war of the sort just a reality of political systems? Should the United States refrain from trying to direct the outcome? What is the purpose of the “United Nations”? Is it just a fiat body that writes reports and resolutions that it never has any authority or ability to uphold? If not constructed for the advancement of world peace than what is the United Nations for?

No one knows or can know what the best action to take is in Syria, or if the best action is to take none at all. The American people overwhelmingly disapprove of intervention in the latest Reuters polls. However, President Obama stated “This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. . . . It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.” He went on to ask, “Here’s my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price?”

It seems Congress will ultimately decide, and it seems it is likely we will use some sort of force towards Syria. Let us hope that the resolution be swift and as peaceful as possible. Nevertheless, I’m afraid no one really believes those words will apply to what will happen if we take action. Let us hope that this President and this Congress will not repeat the mistakes of the past but instead triumph through this turbulent time.