Now Syria has flouted that resolution in a major way. What should be done? Is the agreement a toothless document that simply says, “we wish you wouldn’t but we won’t do anything about it if you do?” If that’s the case, what’s to prevent any of the other countries that possess such weapons (and there are several) from using theirs as well? Do we mean what we say or is it all just meaningless rhetoric?
“America is not the world’s policeman.” That’s another phrase I’ve been known to say and it is one I generally believe. It’s not up to us to intervene in every civil war around the globe. On the other hand, I imagine most of us still see America as the leader of the free world. We are the counter-balance against China and Russia and Iran. We haven’t exactly lived up to our own principles in the last many years considering torture and extraordinary rendition and Guantanamo but does that mean we’ve reneged on our own moral authority?
We still won’t know by the time you read this what the ultimate outcome is. After expressing indignation that they haven’t been consulted, now that the president has taken them at their word that they want to be involved, the House’s response is “cut our vacation short to debate and vote? Surely, you jest!” — this after being off all of August and only planning to be in Washington for 9 days in September. I hoped Obama would ask for congressional approval only to cover his own backside.
For the truth is, of course, they want to whine and wail but without actually having to take a stand. Gee, what if it turns out bad? Don’t blame us!
So will the world do anything or will the world do nothing? Will America do anything or will America do nothing? If 460 gassed children aren’t enough to provoke a reaction, how many more will it take?
Vicki Williams is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached through the newspaper at firstname.lastname@example.org.