To do nothing, Benson worries, seriously undercuts the credibility of the president. “If he doesn’t do something, no one is going to believe what he says.”
Army veteran Kurt Pretzler, who served in the 1980s, had a quick response: “Do it. They’re using chemical weapons over there. That’s no good. They’re doing it on their own people.”
Speaking at Beverly’s Vittori Rocci Post, Pretzler expressed impatience with the idea of seeking congressional approval for military action. “The president can do it on his own. He’s the commander in chief.”
There seemed genuine revulsion for the use of chemical weapons. “I’m sad that they used a gas attack,” said Aaron Burke of Hamilton. “It would have been better if they hadn’t. That’s not an acceptable way to wage war.”
Burke would like to see some action, but within strict limits. “We should help,” he said, “but not directly.” He also expects the administration to seek input from Congress before acting. “That’s what I’d prefer.”
Michael Dynice of Marblehead feels he’s heard it all before. “I heard there were nuclear weapons in other foreign countries, and a lot of people had to die in order to find out that they didn’t have them,” he said. The legacy of Iraq, where the war was predicated on weapons of mass destruction that were never discovered, has left him skeptical, particularly of the media.
“I work in the motion picture industry,” he said. “I know what ‘making pretend’ is all about.” Dynice also doubts our ability to judge cultures different from our own. “We believe all men are created equal. There are others that don’t.” He regrets this, but doesn’t see it as a reason to go to war.
“I think we should go to Congress,” he said, “and find a peaceful solution to this — not by ending lives.”