Syria Is Not Our War

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” -Senator Barack Obama, 2007

 

“The Founding Fathers were, as in most things, profoundly right. That’s why I want to be very clear: if the President takes us to [war] without Congressional approval, I will call for his impeachment….The Constitution is clear. And so am I.” — Joe Biden, in 2007.

More here.

 

Syria … bad things are happening there, sad things and heartbreaking things.  We should be praying, fasting, praying more.   But it’s not our war.   That hasn’t stopped us before, of course, we have a long history of meddling and playing the world’s police officers.

 

Updated to add this link- I don’t agree 100% with everything, and I think he’s a little harsh at times, but it’s food for thought.  There’s a good discussion in the comments here, too.  I didn’t always think this way, btw, and I understand it’s a hard position to understand if you’ve grown up with a completely different understanding.

To me it comes down to the right and proper use of *government* force as opposed to right and proper intervention and involvement on the part of individuals (and I would include NGOs, or non-government organizations.  And it’s not enough to look at WW2 in isolation.  One must also look at the causes that led up to WW2, and that would be WW1.  Hitler never could have come to power without the mess world governments created by intervening where they had no business in World War One and the aftermath.

See also:

if it brings the rebels to power, they are going to do to the Christian churches and monasteries in Syria — among the oldest in the world — exactly what Muslim fighters did to Christian churches and monasteries in Serbia. And that will not matter one bit to most people in this overwhelmingly Christian country, the United States of America. Don’t get me wrong; I would be against this if there weren’t a single Christian in Syria. But the fact that there are millions of them, and they’re going to face slaughter and exile if the rebels win, makes it even more outrageous that the United States is taking part in this.

aND, Btw, do you know who suffered the greatest losses when we bombed Japan in WW2? The largest Christian community in the entire nation. of Japan. America almost completely wiped them out with a single atomic bomb.

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9 Comments

  1. Lanon
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I do not mean to argue with you but when does a war become our war? When did WWII (German front specifically) become our war? If we are Christians, how long can we continue to allow our brothers to be killed before we come under condemnation for turning a blind eye to their plight? Does God want us to declare only one corner of the world as our brothers and ignore the rest? At the same time, I recognize that stepping in too early in to someone else’s fight takes away their ability to negotiate their own way through difficult times and take ownership of their own lives and results in considerable harm to our own children and economy. However, what if France had said our revolutionary war was not their fight?

    At the time I said Ruwanda was not our fight but I have a difficult time looking back now and seeing the tremendous loss of life that was allowed because we wouldn’t take a stand. Would it have been better or worse if we had stepped in? I have more questions than answers but I don’t think it is as simple as saying it is not our war if we truly consider ourselves to be our brother’s keeper.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted August 28, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      What we might do as private citizens is very different from what the government can/ought to do. I am fine with private citizens going to Syria, or Rwanda, and offering their services.

      I’ve come to believe the only legitimate use of *government* force is protecting a country’s own borders.

  2. Lanon
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Back again. I am not sure where I stand. I argue both sides with myself and with others. I was opposed to Iraq, MARGINALLY more supportive of Afghanistan, unsure on Kuwait/Desert Storm, not educated enough on Vietnam (although my father-in-law was involved as an Air Force pilot) or Korea, in hindsight completely supportive of WWII on both the German and Japanese fronts but initially would have probably been somewhat resistant to the German front.

    As a people, we like to quote Martin Niemoller and his “First they came for the… (communists, gypsies, intellectuals, jews etc) and I did nothing because they weren’t me which ends something to the effect of “and when they came for me there was no one left” in condemnation of those who did not oppose Nazism in German. In that vein, when do we start opposing oppressors? Syria is okay because it is the middle east – not my back yard. Ruwanda? – not my back yard and I have no economic interest there. Mexico – well it borders my country but they speak spanish and their culture is so different so I can’t relate to them anyway. Canada – yeah they speak English but only part of the country does and their words don’t always mean the same things as mine and they have nationalized health care so why should I care about them? California – my country but they don’t vote the same way as I do so they can take care of themselves.

    One private citizen or even a hundred can probably do very little in any international war zone but many representatives of our democratic Republic (ie our military) can but it must be authorized by our representatives – not one lone government official.

    Anne Perry has a great mystery series out on WWI, of which the first is entitled “No Graves As Yet” which explores in depth the conflicted feelings of the English as they entered WWI. I think we all need to ask our selves hard questions about war. (She gets a little wordy sometimes but I enjoyed the basic elements of the story.)

    Saying we should only use our forces to protect our border seems short sighted in light of the world we live in. I found out recently England imported somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of their food stuffs at the beginning of WWII. The Germans knew that and did a tremendous job blockading their southern borders. Our US economy is heavily impacted by trade with many other nations, including not only our oil supply but our food supply. Can you imagine what would happen to us if our trading abilities were cut off because war was declared on us and the rest of the world said -” not my backyard”. We would probably survive but not without serious economic casualties and probably tremendous civil strife as the have not elements in our society rebelled against those who appear to have more than their share.

    Both from a religious and an economic perspective it just doesn’t seem as simple as saying we only protect our borders.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      WWII gets used a lot to justify intervention, and I do understand why. I have used it that way myself. But you know what? WWII did not happen in a vacuum. IT was pretty much a direct result of the way the international community intervened and meddled and interfered during WWI. Had we stayed at home during WWI, and so had every other country not involved, the political environment that produced Hitler simply wouldn’t have existed.

      Saying each country’s only authorized use of military force is to protect its own borders isn’t short sighted at all, it’s the other way around.

      • Lanon
        Posted August 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        I am still trying to figure out where I stand so I am back again with another counter argument. I love the idea that each country should only use force to protect it’s own borders. Unfortunately, as far back as Cain and Abel there have been aggressors who use force to take over other people’s borders.

        I agree WWII (again German front) was in large part a result of WWI. WWI was a result of earlier aggressions. Israel is a prime example of injustices going back millenia. However, just because WWII was a result of WWI would you say it was wrong for the U.S. to get involved when it did?

        Communities are initially created as places of refuge and secondarily become places of commerce. It starts with one family in a place and eventually others join them. They become “allies” in a fort which becomes a village which becomes a town, which becomes a city. Eventually there may be a state that is created when there are sufficient numbers of people who agree about certain matters which may include political, military, economic, religious or other ideologies. Sometimes those states join together to become nations. All along the way, allies join together. When a community (nation or village) is small sometimes it forms contracts / treaties with other communities to provide support to each other in case of outside threats that one community on it’s own does not have the resources to handle. Sometimes those are contracts for fire or police services. In the case of nations it may be military obligations. NATO is one such contract. As a member of the United Nations we have similar contracts.

        It is easy for us as a “Super-power” to say, “we don’t need you (whatever small country) so therefore we will not come to your aid” but that is neither humanitarian or economically wise. We truly do not stand alone. We are NOT a self sufficient country and have not been so for a very long time – if ever.

        I hate to think of my children being dragged into war (my spouse and I are old enough that we are unlikely to be directly impacted any longer) but I also hate to think that I would decide that my child’s welfare counted more in the sight of God’s than another’s.

        I also agree that the U.S. CANNOT be the world’s policeman. We have been all too aggressive in some areas. Should we go to war over Syria? I don’t know. I do know it can’t simply be the U.S. involved and if we do there need to be very clear expectations and parameters set. We as a nation, seem to think that other cultures will react to “democracy” in the same way our country currently functions and forget that it was a long time after 1776 before the Constitution was put in place and even longer before the Civil War was settled. In between there were other conflicts our nation dealt with. We can not force our idea of how a government should be formed on anyone but it is scary to leave it in the hands of selfish individuals. We could find ourselves right back where we started only with our own dead to grieve over now.

        Much of the mess the Middle East is in came from imperfect attempts in the 1940s and 1950s to carve up the area along artificial borders. We contributed to the mess then maybe we have a responsibility now to help clean it up? Of course, a counter argument would be that in the end someone will still be unhappy and thereby the seeds of the next (ongoing) conflict are sown.

        There are no easy answers. I used to think the answers to the Israeli / Palestinian conflict were easy until I lived there for 4 short months.

        We cannot g0 back in time far enough to rectify all errors. The real key is for everyone to forgive one another, live in perfect harmony and get on with life. Unfortunately, that time is not yet here and in the meantime we get to wrestle with the question of what would God have us do with THIS conflict?!

        • Headmistress, zookeeper
          Posted August 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

          I just don’t think there is any end at all to ‘fixing’ mistakes that were made in previous generations. I am in favor of wide open borders for immigration, of compassionate aide, help with fleeing war torn countries, private citizens and private organizations doing whatever they want or feel they need to do. But the only way I can see back from the madness is the firm, hard, bright line that the only proper use of government force is protecting a country’s own borders.

          Yes, that means people will die who we might have saved, but what about the people we kill, maim, and damage for life when we meddle where it isn’t our business? Syria is bad right now. Meanwhile, we kill a million and a half babies in the womb every single year, which is just as horrific. Does another country have the right and even the responsibility to invade us to make that stop? If not, why not?

          How many people die in Mexico because of the drug cartels and rampant corruption of government? Why not invade there, too? Why aren’t we invading North Korea? The misery and degradation beneath the totalitarianism there is absolutely unspeakable. What about the one child policy in China? That’s despicable, shall we invade there as well? Where does it end?

  3. abba12
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    As an Australian, I think Americas stance as the ‘world police’ is absolutely infuriating and unjust. A lot of people here resent it.

    I think the line is when an ally ASKS for america to step in. If they ask for assistance, great, go help. But if they don’t, then don’t go in, guns blazing, implementing your own idea of right and peace on a foreign people.

    I am more referring to crime than war here… The Julian Assange Case is strong on my mind because he is running for senate here in next weeks election (yes, from the embassy). At one point America wanted to charge him with treason… he’s not an American citizen, he can’t commit treason against another country! Latest news is that they want to make him an official enemy or something so that his assassination would be legal. Another example is, whether or not you believe pirating and copyright laws are currently wrong or right, the way America has arrested people overseas, who live overseas, and have all their computers overseas, and are not american citizens, and then charged them, not under their own law but AMERICAN law is absolutely absurd and frightening. The idea that America can charge anyone in the world for breaking America’s law is horrifying, and yet, it has happened.

    I mean no personal disrespect to anyone, this is all politics, but the sooner the USA butts out of other countries business, the better.

  4. Posted August 29, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I soo agree with this. If we had minded our own business in WWI, there likely wouldn’t have been a Hitler. We have NO BUSINESS in Syria. Ugh

  5. Headmistress, zookeeper
    Posted August 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    See also:

    if it brings the rebels to power, they are going to do to the Christian churches and monasteries in Syria — among the oldest in the world — exactly what Muslim fighters did to Christian churches and monasteries in Serbia. And that will not matter one bit to most people in this overwhelmingly Christian country, the United States of America. Don’t get me wrong; I would be against this if there weren’t a single Christian in Syria. But the fact that there are millions of them, and they’re going to face slaughter and exile if the rebels win, makes it even more outrageous that the United States is taking part in this.

    aND, Btw, do you know who suffered the greatest losses when we bombed Japan in WW2? The largest Christian community in the entire nation. of Japan. America almost completely wiped them out with a single atomic bomb.

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