To strike or not to strike
That is a fundamental question being asked, not just of Congress, but of the American people.
President Barack Obama took to the airwaves Tuesday night in an attempt to increase public support for military strikes against Syria.
The basis of the strikes: The claim that Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime used chemical weapons killing a yet unverified number of civilians.
Congress has returned to session after its month-long summer break to begin debate over whether to utilize targeted airstrikes against Assad.
According to an online poll conducted by The Daily Courier, local residents overwhelmingly disapprove of any strikes against Syria.
Over 80 percent of online voters suggested the United States is not the world’s policeman and that we should stick to addressing issues here at home.
Just over 10 percent felt the use of chemical weapons was inexcusable and a surgical military strike was justified.
Daily Courier readers seem to conform more with overall public opinion across the nation. Other nationwide polls suggest over 60 percent of Americans are not in favor of any military strikes against Syria.
For us, the question poses a greater problem.
Thus far, the Obama Administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have told the American people and Congress that “we know the Assad regime was responsible … The facts cannot be denied.”
There has been talk of satellite photos and reports from social networks backing the claim of chemical attacks.
However, the Administration has yet to show the very American people of whose support they are seeking any of this evidence.
Additionally, the figures of the dead are in question. The Associated Press reported the White House coming up with a figure of 1,429 dead however, the same report had estimates from the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights at 502.
If memory serves, we blindly committed American troops to a campaign against Iraq when President George W. Bush suggested chemical weapons. No evidence was presented to the American people to support the claim and we found ourselves in a battle over something that has yet to be proved actually existed. Thousands of American soldiers lost their lives as we followed our leaders without question.
We can ill-afford to make the same mistake in this situation.
Regardless of whether the White House promises “no boots on the ground” we, the American people, deserve to see this irrefutable evidence before committing any American resources to another Middle East campaign.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.