Michael Gerson: A vote against attacking Syria would seriously harm the U.S.

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  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 7, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    It is the people of a country who actually fight and die in wars, not their leaders who, on the loosing side may take "the drop" on a rope, so to speak. It is therefore requisite that the people's representatives decided who is our enemy and if war is the best way to resolve a matter.

    As to Syria, we as a people have little if any idea of who is actually fighting who (or is it whom?). There are ancient rivalries in play, religious philosophies in play and ancient scores "to be settled". We have no understanding of this problem, it is basically internal except for refugees, of which the world has many.

    We need to stay out of this mess. If NATO, except for the US, and other nations find the conflict disturbing to their national interests, let them raise the army, fund the operation and set things aright as to their needs.

    The past three or four administrations have been a laughing stock of leadership on the national and world stage. The Marx brothers could not equal the gaffes and buffoonery performed by these pretenders of protocol.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 2:31 p.m.

    re:one vote

    Mike Lee isn't dumb enough to start a war with no clear objectives - no exit strategy - no friends in the current civil war on either side and a dry tinder box of terror ready to explode all over the middle east the second the first US bomb explodes in Syria.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    This is complete nonsense. So here we have a president who no one in the world respects anyway and now suddenly congress is somehow bound to go along with him just to prop him up in the worlds eyes? It isn't the United States that will take the hit if congress votes no it is Barack Obama - let's make certain that is clear. People around the world - especially our enemy's - are smart enough to understand that Barack does NOT represent the United States...not like past presidents have and actually what a NO vote from congress will show to the world is that the people of the US are smarter and stronger than this little "Jimmy Carter" like man in the White House. Smarter because there is NO good outcome from starting another war in the middle east and because there is no such thing as a
    "little war". When you attack another country you declare war against that country. Period! Smarter because the US has NO direct or indirect interests in lobbing bombs into the middle of a civil war where both sides hate the US.

  • twells Ogden, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    I have racked my brain trying to figure out what this is really about. The President didn't seek Congressional approval for Libya. I think what have is a red herring. This administration has been taking a lot of heat over Bengauzi, the IRS, and Obamacare. Remember we were told these were phony scandals. However, this Syria issue is about turning America's attention to something other than what has troubled this Administration. The Arab Spring was nothing more than the support to aid the Muslim Brotherhood into Middle East power. The second issue we are facing is the Muslim Brotherhood advisers to this President want to see how far America will go to try and stabilize the Middle East.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 6, 2013 1:33 p.m.

    "....Obama is inviting members of Congress to share responsibility for a Syrian policy that has achieved little to justify their confidence....."

    Gee, Mr. Gerson. I wonder if the President might have been feeling pressure from those in Congress who were demanding that he come to them first for authorization. Ya think?

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 1:07 p.m.

    @red state pride

    I think he had experience leading the Choom Gang.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    @ Roland Kayser- if World War 3 started would you feel more comfortable with a proven leader who has shown the ability to govern competently like Mitt Romney as Commander in Chief or in a President like Barack Obama who has shown zero interest in governing let alone leading and in fact has seemed to relish dividing the Country rather than uniting it? Obama doesn't even like meeting with or talking to leaders in his own party let alone Republicans. He's detached and aloof. Would you seriously rather have Obama/ Valerie Jarrett leading this Country in a major all-out war? They've already totally botched Syria so it's gonna get better?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 12:42 p.m.

    I agree with this op-ed.

    I hope that we go to war with the entire middle east. Heck, with the entire world! Why stop at Syria? Lets attack Iran and our fake ally Saudi Arabia? How hard could it be to topple Egypt's limping government? Next up, N. Korea and China. And honestly, are we satisfied with the end of the Cold War? Lets just attack Russia. And if Mexico and Canada don't mind themselves, we should attack them.

    After all, this is all about sending a message to the world that we shouldn't be messed with. The American people and our treasury? Who cares.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 12:10 p.m.

    “In this case, an unfulfilled pledge has disillusioned our natural ally within Syria, the Free Syrian Army, and weakened it in competition with jihadist groups.”

    “Obama administration has generally waged a war of words, and then used them casually and clumsily.”

    “Obama has actively undermined political support for the legislative outcome he currently seeks.”

    BO can use lies and deceit and get away with it in Chicago, in fact it is expected there.

    BO can use lies and deceit and get away with it in the dem party, in fact it is expected there.

    BO can use lies and deceit to get re-elected.

    But when it comes to foreign policy, especially when belligerents are involved, it is dangerous. Too bad he never learned how to use the truth.

    I guess the DN does not like me quoting their article - why else would they block this comment?

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 11:59 a.m.


    Yes partly at you. Well perceived.

    Neocons are not an organized group with defined purpose and mission statement, so basically it is whatever those calling others that particular name may mean by it. I had not heard it used to refer to 'war mongers' so much as the ultra-conservative, but I find a large variety of definitions online.

    I am an ultra-conservative, but not a war monger. I oppose military intervention in Syria. I think the name neoconservative is an oxymoron, since conservatives value individual freedom, and therefore warring to force democracy on others violates their freedom to choose their form of government.

    By some definitions of neocon, Obama fits, but that is only those definitions that don't think neocons are conservatives. I prefer liberal, power wielding, war monger.

  • LaFong Springville, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    Bomb a country that has never attacked us? Are you kidding? We have no business in Syria. Let the Syrians handle their own mess. Stay out of Syria!

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 6, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    @ThornBirds – “Has anyone else ever wondered what the planet would be like if Females were running the planet.”

    I’m sure you’re right… as long as they would all agree to take 3-5 days off every month.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    Sept. 6, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    Has anyone else ever wondered what the planet would be like if Females were running the planet.
    Love, compassion, compromise, understanding, thinking things through, discussion after discussion, looking for the good, being an example to others, humility, charity, selflessness, looking for another answer.....
    Minus man's obsession with power and war, and without the male's copious Testosterone.......just think what it could be like!
    Without women, you guys would have blown up the planet long ago.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 6, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    Iron Rod, I too was curious, as these kinds of statements are virtually ALWAYS taken out of context (or are outright false). Unfortunately, it does not matter to many if it furthers their cause.

    Let me help you out. Here is the statement in context from Snopes.

    "In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly. They need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during WW II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly Direction"

    Big surprise. When one reads the context, it is a reasonable statement.

    Unfortunately, "reasonable" was not the intent of the poster.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    Iron Rod In his own book “Audacity of Hope” he writes: “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” The quote comes from page 261 of the paperback edition of “The Audacity of Hope.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Re Mohokat: Ogden Ut

    Could you please site your source for this comment in quotations? "I will stand with the Muslims should the poliical winds shift in an ugly direction." President Obama.

    Personally I have never heard this quote attributed to President Obama by reputable news sources.

    I would be interested in the source.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    Obama and Kerry have stated that we know Assad did it, when he did it and how he did it.
    In no way do I impune the U.S. Inteligence apparatus. But Brack listen to your words on Bengazi. "But make no mistake: we will get to the bottom of this, we will find out who did this, we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.” You knew within days of the Syrian attack all the particulars but one year later we still do not know the who's and why's of Bengazi.You are ready to attack Syria over killing of their own people but nothing in the killing of a U.S. Ambassador? Your credibility was questioned quite some time ago. No I do not believe you or Kerry. You know Kerry is the guy who served in Viet Nam.

  • Brian Wasilla, AK
    Sept. 6, 2013 9:32 a.m.

    I have a book titled: "Polish acts of atrocity against the German minority". It was used to convince the German people that the invasion of Poland was necessary. In the last hundred years how many times have the people been tricked into going to war by the politicians and the press?

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    Mitt Romney supported getting involved in Syria. If he had been elected, all of the Republicans would be supporting him in his decision to go in. I suspect that all of the right leaning commenters on this forum would also be supporting him.

    I'm opposed to intervention, but I suspect that the main reason Republicans are opposed is just one more example of their trying to make Obama fail, no matter what he proposes.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:46 a.m.


    Maybe directed in part at me?

    I disagree with Obama on this. It is easy as I vote both R and D and have no blind allegiance to either party. And, at the end of the day, the Dems will not provide enough votes.

    "Does that mean you think Obama is a neo-con too?"

    Of course not. Do you?

    Neocons typically favor war. Certainly Gerson is a neocon, as is McCain and Graham.

    Sometimes I agree with them, does that make me a neocon.

    Are you not concerned that Gerson advocates using the military as a "symbolic" gesture? That thinking is what scares me about Neocons.

  • JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    @one vote:
    we are not listening to Putin. We are trying to discern the truth; whatever the source.

    Bush took the US into war with Iraq with deception of WMDs. and later made jokes about it at a ceremonial dinner: "No, WMD's here, yuk yuk yuk".

    It appears that the American people are being deceived again to pull us into a war with Syria; To help support the side that just might be responsible for killing their own people to gain favor. Has the Obama administration offered any substantial evidence that Assad is responsible? No. We just have his word. Given Obama's track record for telling the truth, I would believe former KGB agent Putin over him. The US military started making plans to train the Syrian rebels back in March, months before this gassing. Now isn't it convenient that there is a reason to give us cause to help? I would not be surprised if the CIA was involved somehow.

    Standing firm in doing the right thing is not being a dove.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    Not a convincing article at all. Any action taken would simply kill and wound innocent people who had nothing to do with the decision to use chemical weapons. War is not a game, it is a tragedy and it destroys lives - and a life of any person on this planet is more important than some first world country feeling solid about their standing and reputation. Unless responding to an outright attack on our own nation, we have no business attacking another.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    What grates on my nerves is Gerson's loose usage of the term "isolationist." There is a world of difference between the concepts of isolationism and non-interventionism. Blurring that distinction is irresponsible. It's entirely possible to be engaged internationally and still be non-interventionist, and that's how it should be.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    Leon Paneta stated on Sept. 28, 2012 the following "The U.S. has lost track of some of Syria’s chemical weapons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday, and does not know if any potentially lethal chemicals have fallen into the hands of Syrian rebels or Iranian forces inside the country". Hmmm Could Putin be correct? Read Yossef Bodansky article on this very subject.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    So the liberal regulars are calling Gerson a neo-con for defending president Obama's position on Syria.


    Does that mean you think Obama is a neo-con too?

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 7:45 a.m.

    Send our brave Military into harms way just so a Pretender in Chiefs credibility will not be harmed. I think not. The great Pretender has stated himself that his credibility was not at stake. He claims he did not draw a red line, the world did, Congress did. I am amazed that he did not say that Bush drew the red line. Or did he inherited the red line. Has anyone ever noticed that he never and I mean never accepts responsibility for anything Oh I forgot Bin Laden is dead. He beat that drum loudly. It is a shame that we are trying hard who to believe Obama, Kerry, or Putin. I hate to admit I am leaning toward Putin.Also notice that Obama does everything he can to oust these dictators knowing full well that Muslim extremeists will fill the void. Remember when he said “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction. Hmmm. Is his muslim roots sprouting?

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    Gerson is correct that the Obama administration has mishandled the Syrian civil war from the beginning. That said, if we didn't intervene 2 years ago why should we intervene now? I think the argument that voting against would weaken the executive branch is over-thinking things and too cute by half.
    Weaken the executive branch? Are you kidding me? How many times has Pres Obama said " if Congress doesn't act I'll do it on my own"? I don't know why we even have a legislative branch with this crowd in charge. Unelected bureaucrats at the EPA issuing countless regulations. Unelected bureaucrats at HSA in conjunction with their lobbyist masters issuing regulation after regulation regarding how allegedly free citizens receive their healthcare. Ridiculous argument.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 7:24 a.m.

    Gerson is defending the type of imperial presidency created under George W. Bush. For some unfathomable reason, he feels it's worth killing innocent people and spending who knows how much money (which we don't have) just to make his point. Typically, he shows no concern for the law of unintended consequences that gets us in over our collective head. This is neoconservatism at its ugliest.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 6, 2013 6:54 a.m.

    Is anyone else a little tired of being the world’s (unfunded) police force?

    How many countries have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and why isn’t the credibility of any of those countries “on the line” like ours supposedly is?

    Here’s a thought – let’s go to the UN and explain that we will no longer take unilateral action anywhere in the world and our future involvement is contingent upon passed resolutions and all counties voting in favor footing their share of the cost (say, based on their percentage of the world’s population)

    So pay up India and China or deal with the world’s problems on your own… especially ones in your own backyard (e.g., North Korea).

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Sept. 6, 2013 6:48 a.m.

    A vote against attacking Syria would not harm America, it would harm Obama's credibility after issuing the red line ultimatum. Its impossible to fake being tough isn't it Mr. Obama.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 6, 2013 6:38 a.m.

    But all the tea party people are listening to Putin and the doves, like Senator Lee.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 6, 2013 5:52 a.m.

    "A limited military strike may be symbolic. But for Congress to block that strike would be more than symbolic. It would undermine a tangible element of American influence: the perception that the commander in chief is fully in command."


    So, Mr Gerson could justify "symbolic" military engagement to boost our credentials in the world?

    This is the guy who proposed the use of a "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" metaphor to drum up support for the Iraq war. A true NeoCon. (and a senior policy advisor under Bush)

    What a callous (and dangerous) view on war.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Sept. 6, 2013 4:24 a.m.

    No it wouldn't. We don't need to get involved in another middle east war. I realize the Dear Leader is claiming that Assad is responsible, but has anyone read about the Russian report disputing this? Or has anyone read the alternative media reports that the Syrian rebels admitted responsibility for the gas attack?

    Sarah Palin said it best: "Let Allah sort it out."