, Salem, MA


May 6, 2013

Column: Drumbeat of war sounds hollow

The drumbeating has begun.

The people who got us into war in Iraq and Afghanistan are now clamoring for a third war. They want the U.S. to go to war against the government of Syria. They are also warning that war with Iran may be inevitable.

The reinvigorated war lust began when serious claims emerged that chemical weapons were used in Syria, where the discredited government of Bashar al-Assad has been fighting a bloody civil war with rebels who want him ousted.

President Barack Obama, who had said that use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” that would bring the United States into the conflict, now demands incontrovertible evidence and proof of who did what when. Furthermore, he said that the international community must agree that chemical weapons were used.

Part of his reluctance stems from the extremist ties of some of the rebels fighting in Syria. If we arm them, will they turn on us next?

American neoconservatives who fought hard to get the U.S. into such unpopular wars as Iraq and who have begun pushing for war with Iran over its efforts to become a nuclear power are now calling Obama the political equivalent of a chicken.

Weekly Standard founder-editor Bill Kristol told Fox News that he supports those who argue that Obama’s obvious dislike of getting into another war emboldens enemies overseas.

“No one wants to go to war, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” he said.

Not surprisingly, Kristol, who was a leading advocate of invading Iraq, personally has never been to war.

After the war in Vietnam, Americans said never again would they fight an unwinnable war thousands of miles away where the outcome was unknowable. It would be difficult to find many people today who would be able to justify the war in Vietnam and the loss of 58,000 American lives and wounding of 153,000 more.

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