January 3, 2013

Another View: United States should not intervene in Syrian war

It's easy to say we should do something, but it's more difficult to do the right thing.

By DAVID SCOTTON

Although I have had high regard for Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, I was disappointed with them after reading their column ("It's not too late for United States to help save Syria," Jan. 1).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Scotton is a resident of Cape Elizabeth.

I believe it was one sided, poorly supported by history, and presented with the unstated assumption that our country has a duty to police the unfair behaviors of other countries.

Their suggestions that the United States provide weapons for the rebels and establish a no-fly zone are acts of war. As such, these acts are fraught with risks of unintended/unforeseen consequences.

An example would be complications resulting as a result of "troops on the ground" to rescue a downed pilot.

I, too, feel badly for the loss of life and terror imposed on citizens of Syria by their leaders. Surely, we have many sad examples of how well intended military goals become twisted later when military action becomes pointless and/or ineffective. Obvious examples are the Vietnam, Korean and Iraqi conflicts.

With the exception of World War II, does history provide us with evidence that acts of war, in the end, result in less suffering for humanity and the attainment of the intended original goals?

Armed conflict is often an impulsive and "knee jerk" response to perceived crimes that is not preceded by careful, balanced and complete discussion of unintended consequences or alternatives. Suggestions presented in McCain's column are a good example of this.

We need to have such a discussion and continue all efforts at negotiation.

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