With tension growing by the day over a potential U.S. strike in Syria, the word from Kentucky’s much touted U.S. Senate race has been silence. Neither the incumbent nor any of the challengers have had much to say about a potential U.S. attack in Syria. Here is what needs to be said.
First, as I mentioned in my letter printed in the Lexington Herald Leader on August 30, we need honesty about the civilian costs in Syria. We do not have ..
it within our power to keep the promise of protecting civilians by using military force. I saw it firsthand in Iraq; civilians are part of the conflict. They have relatives or friends fighting on both sides, and like us they help their family and friends. That means you can’t distinguish good guys from bad guys, so whenever force is used, civilians will be effected. Any addition of force will mean more civilian deaths, not fewer.
Second, combat is unpredictable. Once bullets and bombs start flying, outcomes become more difficult to predict. How will Russia, Iran, and Syria respond to a U.S. attack? The internet is replete with wild theories, and others bearing some resemblance to the truth. But the key question that has been completely ignored in the last two weeks is where did those chemical weapons in Syria come from? And why oh why with a $52 billion dollar black budget going mostly to intelligence agencies don't we already know? Any sitting U.S. Senator or candidate for Senate should be having a field day with that one. Syria does not have the expertise to make such weapons, so before we destroy them is important to find out who the supplier is because they own a share of responsibility for those civilian deaths.
Third, if our best judgment is that there is a security threat to the United States which requires military force to eliminate, then we need to eliminate it, civilian casualties or not. The job of our military is protecting U.S. civilians from harm, not safeguarding civilians in Syria. If there is a threat, then take it out. If there isn’t, then don’t use force. Anybody who is unwilling to take a public stand behind one of those two positions is unfit to either serve in or run for the U.S. Senate.