KATIE ZERR: War weary Americans hope diplomacy works
As Americans watch the Congressional debate on military action in Syria, we also remember the day that pushed this country into military action that has lasted 10 years longer than expected.
As we remember where we were when we realized terrorists had attacked our country, we face another challenge on the world scene.
Americans are weary of war. We are weary of seeing our young men and women battling to recover from lost limbs and other injuries caused by cowardly tactics.
We are tired of the cost and broken promises that have wasted billions of tax dollars while making a few very wealthy as their companies profit from war.
As the evidence of what the Bashar al-Assad regime did to the people of Syria is replayed over and over on the national news, we shake our heads and resolve not to put our military in the path of another heartless dictator.
When the terrorists attacked our nation, we in unison backed our president and the coalition in actions to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.
As we later found out, we may have been pawns in a game of war plotted by the Bush administration. The attack on Baghdad may have been the start of a five-year plan by the administration to rid the region of enemies of the free world.
We don’t want to go there again.
We know the Assad regime has been ruthless in killing the people of Syria. We know someone in that administration ordered the use of chemical weapons to kill women and children. The evidence is there. Much more than when we solidly backed the coalition’s invasion of Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction.
But we are weary. Americans want to protect our people first and foremost. We do not want to see, just as our involvement in that region is coming to a close, a possible escalation of our presence there.
It is hard to turn away from the pictures of children in the grotesque mask of death that accompanies the use of chemical weapons. But we think about the thousands of children who lost mothers and fathers to the years of involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and question whether we need to be the world police.
President Barack Obama knows he has a big hill to climb in trying to sway Americans to believe that we must take action if diplomatic channels do not work.
Some of us are hopeful that Russia will be able to take control of these weapons, but many of us are skeptical.
It is very difficult for us to take any credence in the words of a man who has ordered the murder of his own people, threatened this nation on national television and whose family has a history of atrocities against their own people.
Syria’s partner in this diplomacy is our old enemy Russia, who may no longer be a super power, but still is Russia, led by a former KGB officer.
It is not surprising that we are leery of this marriage in diplomacy.
Circumstances are different now than in 2003 when we cheered as bombs hit strategic targets in Baghdad. We now know there were no weapons of mass destruction there. We know there were other reasons we went into Iraq, other than Saddam Hussein’s threat of chemical warfare.
Americans do not want to again be played the fools while others play war games. The cost is much too high.
While we understand the use of chemical weapons cannot be tolerated and action must be taken to stop those like Assad, who showed us he has no soul, we want someone else to stop them. He has crossed the line in the sand that has been there long before this president took office. He deserves to be taken down.
Just not by the United States.
As we wait for the Russians to do the right thing, and hope that they succeed, we pray that our president does not have to make a decision that could again cost us dearly.
We are weary of that.