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Joe Guzzardi: Congress, Obama — think carefully about Syria strike

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Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2013 12:00 am

For those of us who grew up during the Vietnam years — and especially for those who fought in the 20-year-long war — the prospect of possible United States involvement in the Syrian civil war is chilling. In my lifetime, the U.S. has been part of at least 10 armed conflicts, some of which, like Vietnam and Somalia, were poorly thought out and even more poorly executed.

As a resolution on Syria heads to the Senate next week, Americans remain staunchly opposed. More than 60 percent think launching missile strikes against the Syrian government for its probable use of chemical weapons is a bad idea. More than a decade of Middle Eastern wars have collectively worn out the public’s interest in more of the same.

For now, it looks like only President Obama and a select few of his henchmen consider Syria a catastrophic situation that requires immediate U.S. intervention. Obama had the presence of mind to deflect any final decision on Syria to Congress, where it will face major roadblocks, especially in the House.

According to Capitol Hill insiders, House Republican staffers have advised that several key members are unsatisfied by the White House’s classified briefings. A top aide said the administration has failed to make a compelling case “beyond spasmodic moral outrage.” Another added that Obama would have to make a more convincing case to the public if he expects Congress and the American public to back him. If voters aren’t sold, then Congress can’t be either.

Without American and congressional backing, a war resolution endorsed by Obama, his Secretaries of State and Defense, and outspoken Senate hawks John McCain and Lindsey Graham could lose.

If the House or Senate votes down the resolution but Obama — without authorization from Congress, the Security Council, NATO or the Arab League — leads the nation into a war it doesn’t want to fight, he’ll face severe political consequences that might end in impeachment proceedings, already under consideration in some quarters.

On the other hand, if Congress approves the resolution, Obama would do well to reconsider his commitment to interfering in Syria whether it’s for two hours, two days or two weeks. Once America starts down that path, turning back becomes increasingly difficult. Remember Vietnam.

Apparently forgotten in the war’s buildup is sequestration. While low-paid federal employees are being fired and White House tours cancelled in the name of economic prudence, an airstrike against Syria would quickly amount to tens of billions and much more should the effort be sustained.

Since the Pentagon is bracing for a $20 billion funding reduction as delayed spending caps from the 2011 debt-ceiling deal begin next month, one might think that hawks would be expressing concerns about triggering such inflated costs. Instead, they believe that the U.S. military should expand its global presence, spending be damned.

Unless Congress gets an overnight common sense infusion, the outcome looks inevitable. By the time the frost is on the pumpkin, we’ll be knee-deep in Syria. Obama promised less than a year ago that, with the nearly decade-old Iraqi war finally over, he could turn his attention to “nation building here at home.” Today, those are just more empty words.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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  • Andrew Liebich posted at 11:50 pm on Fri, Sep 13, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Mr. Mauer,
    Yes, there are numerous "mentally unarmed" individuals among us.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 11:26 pm on Fri, Sep 13, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Supporting President Obama despite the fact that he is now arming and funding the very same individuals who killed Americans in Iraq is "stupid"

  • John Lucas posted at 11:06 am on Fri, Sep 13, 2013.

    John Lucas Posts: 2730

    I would bet that Obama and Putin cooked up this little deal between them. They both get what they wanted. I love the difference between Obama and Bush. Bush invaded a country costing thousands of lives and a trillion dollars that allegedly had WMD's even though the inspectors at the time could not find any. Obama get the dictator who has WMD's to give them up without firing a shot. The thing I love best is how the Republicans say what a terrible leader Obama is. You just cannot fix stupid.

  • robert maurer posted at 10:20 am on Fri, Sep 13, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 485

    Mr. Liebich; Yup. ...And Obama's recent derision of Putin on tv backfired. Putin is obviously fighting a psychological war against mentally unarmed people. Classic Russian tactic.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 9:45 am on Fri, Sep 13, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Mr. Maurer,
    Most of Putin’s critics are too intellectually challenged to comprehend that Putin’s brilliant and humane article has left Putin the leader of the free world and defender of the rule of law and exposed Obama for what he is–the leader of a rogue, lawless, unaccountable government committed to lies and war crimes.

  • robert maurer posted at 9:08 am on Fri, Sep 13, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 485

    Also read some of the 4,000+ responses: Some are brilliant and well thought out, unlike many posted about the Syrian conflict in LNS reader comments.

  • robert maurer posted at 9:02 am on Fri, Sep 13, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 485

    Has anyone read Vladimir Putin's op-ed letter in the New York Times? That should be an embarrassment to the US, since he seems to know more about our constitution and international law than most Americans, while gaining more respect and esteem from the international community and Russia.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 8:41 am on Thu, Sep 12, 2013.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866

    Only in your mind Ms Bobbin wouyld you believe the U.S would not make a nother deal with the same Devil again.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 7:55 am on Thu, Sep 12, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read a post from someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 7:09 am on Thu, Sep 12, 2013.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866


    I know. The U.S. did arm Al Aqaeda in Afghanistan to fight Russia. Now, we do have a whole new perspective on Al Qaeda. We saw how easily these type of people can turn on us and anyone. I haven't ruled out they turn on Russia to save face with the U.S. This sounds a litttle silly, I know. However, if they turn on Russia then Russia may turn on Iran in the best interest of saving face with the U.S. I'm sure you're aware the U.S is fighting a proxy war with Iran through Syria. What's so interesting and kind of hard to get a bead on is the fact Al Qaeda is attempting to overthrow Assad all the while they are in bed with Iran. And Iran is funding and supplying arms to the Assad regime.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 1:43 am on Thu, Sep 12, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999




  • Brian Dockter posted at 8:15 pm on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866

    Even Obama is fully aware his act of arming the Rebels in Syria has inadvertantly armed Al Aqaeda too. But this is just too much for Ms. Bobbin to comprehend.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 1:06 pm on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    MONTHS ago Mr. Heuer asked for "bonified beyond a shadow of a doubt proof" that President Pinnocchio condones, codles or defends radical muslim groups and months ago I provided it. Remember Ms. Bobin?
    posted at 7:58 am on Sunday, January 14,2013 See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

    Fast forward to today and your head is still firmly burried in the sand despite President Pinnocchio recently saying, "we will continue to support the Syrian opposition" ROFLMAO!!!

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 10:55 am on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Show us the "proof," other than your conspiracy theory websites.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 10:55 am on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Only in YOUR world, Mr. Liebich, which is totally unfathomable to those who do not believe in your conspiracy theories.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 10:21 am on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    I find it disturbingly ironic that on the 12th anniversary of 9/11, the White House is on the same side as those allegedly responsible for 9/11.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 10:19 am on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    The President has been arming and funding AlQueda ("the rebels") in Syria for nearly 3 years.

  • Brian Dockter posted at 8:47 am on Wed, Sep 11, 2013.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866

    -Doesn't look like Obama thought this out very well. As usual.


    Obama Rescues Assad

    A Clip:

    Even if you believe this will happen, or is even possible, Assad will emerge without punishment for having used chemical weapons. He can also be confident that there will be no future Western military action against him. Mr. Obama won't risk another ramp-up to war given the opposition at home and abroad to this effort.

    Assad will also know he can unleash his conventional forces anew against the rebels, and Iran and Russia will know they can arm him with impunity. The rebels had better brace themselves for a renewed assault. At the very least, Mr. Obama should compensate for his diplomatic surrender by finally following through on his June promise to arm and train the moderate Free Syrian Army. Otherwise he runs the risk of facilitating an Assad-Iran-Russian triumph.

  • Michael Hartung posted at 6:43 am on Sat, Sep 7, 2013.

    mhartung Posts: 25

    Hey Joe although I agree with you that it is crazy to spend money and blow stuff up in Syria, I find it ironic you get scared to mention the last 2 wasted wars ...Iraq and Afghanistan. You sure would not want to tick off all of the hypocrites in Lodi that only want to waste money on other countries if the president is a Bush or Reagan. The funniest part of this is that in the paper right next to your opinion is a today in history from 2003 that has that genius president asking Congress for 87 billion for his wars. Maybe you should have used recent history and not Vietnam!


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