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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 26, 2013 at 4:12 PM

U.S. weighs response to reported use of chemical weapons in Syria

In this image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians inspect the rubble of damaged buildings due to heavy shelling by Syrian government forces in Aleppo, Syria, Monday. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

In this image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians inspect the rubble of damaged buildings due to heavy shelling by Syrian government forces in Aleppo, Syria, Monday. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

When will we ever learn

Probably the most famous “red line” was Caesar’s decision to cross the Rubicon. President Obama has drawn his thin red line over Syria and is being pressed to militarily intervene because Syria’s leader won’t give up his power without using chemical weapons and there is a supposed “moral imperative” to force this action. [“Syria agrees to inspection, but U.S. says it’s too late,” page one, Aug. 26.]

What about moral imperatives in the past: Vietnam to defeat communism in SE Asia; Kuwait to cancel aggression to gain oil; Iraq because of the threat (real or perceived) to use nuclear weapons, and finally Afghanistan to stop al-Qaida from building a terrorist base?

Every one of these decisions based on “moral imperatives” has led to American deaths and economic disasters, directly or indirectly.

George Santayana reminded us that “those who cannot remember past mistakes are condemned to repeat them.” In our era, we must learn that the factions in the Middle East can only be controlled by power asserted within.

Mohammed taught that and disputes over his legacy rights perpetuate it. Sending in cruise missiles and marines will only exacerbate the conflicts.

Possibly the American isolationists (WW I, WW II, Korea and Vietnam) were right. When will we learn and stop the repeated effects.

John E. Woodbery, Monroe

Don’t go there

I pray the United States does not go there. It is sheer folly for the U.S. to enter the war in Syria.

It is illegal to enter such a war without the United Nations sanctioning it. It is not clear the chemical attack was by Syrian forces. It probably was a provocation by the rebels.

Intervention by the U.S. will heat up existing conflicts within the Middle East — Palestine-Israel, Iran-Israel-U.S., Sunni-Shia. There is no way of knowing how it will end.

U.S. leadership has its goals, but has little understanding of the dynamics of the conflict. Without understanding the dynamics, there is almost no chance U.S. goals, whatever they are, will be met.

The U.S. lost the war in Vietnam, it lost the Iraq war, and it appears like it will lose the Afghanistan war. What bizarre thinking makes the U.S. conclude it will win in Syria.

Don’t go there.

Peter von Christierson, Port Townsend

We shouldn’t get involved

It looks like we may be stumbling toward a war in Syria.

Has this country ever found a war it didn’t love? We should never get involved in another action in the Middle East.

There are terrible things happening all around the world and I don’t see us charging in there to stop it. Just look at some of the atrocities occurring in Africa.

Those al-Qaida warriors will just have to take their chances if they want to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. I’m sorry for the civilians, but then I’m sorry for all those harmed around the world.

How about helping those people who live in the war zones of Chicago and Detroit.

Phil Dooley, Bainbridge Island

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