Jeff In MilwaukeeJeff In Milwaukee's Journal
Syria needs more war in the same way that the Sahara Desert needs more sand. If the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan has taught us anything at all, its that guns and bombs are not the solution to political and societal problems. Syria has a serious political and societal problem, and the introduction of chemical weapons has been a less-than-helpful development. But the introduction of Tomahawk cruise missiles is not going to be any better.
I get it. As decent human beings, we want Bashar Al-Assad to stop gassing his own citizens, and as fretful Americans, we dont want to see those same weapons falling into the hands of a successful insurgency, particularly when it appears that al-Queda is among the combatants. If we bomb Assad, its likely hell attack Israel just to upset the apple cart. If we dont bomb Assad, his chemical weapons are potentially available to people who destroyed the World Trade Center.
Damned if you do and damned if you dont?
Heres an idea. Stay the hell out of the conflict. And instead of spending billions on blowing people up, lets try spending billions on the vast number of refugees this civil war has created. The United Nations estimates that Syria is hemorrhaging 5,000 citizens a day who are fleeing the conflict. Nearly two million so far. Half of them children.
If we want to send a message to the Arab World about our intentions, how about we do that by making sure that the weakest and most vulnerable among them are adequately fed and housed? How about we do that by engaging the Arab League, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Hezbollah and Russia (yes, Russia) to apply some leverage on Assad. Its a crazy idea, I know, but maybe just for once we should try waging peace with the same courage and resolve we bring to waging war.
Im just spit-balling here. I could be wrong. But heres the thing. My son was eighteen months old when we invaded Afghanistan. Hell be sixteen years old next year. Id really like it if at least a small portion of his childhood was not spent with American troops dying overseas.
Thats not too much to ask.