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EDITORIAL: Attack justification must be irrefutable

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Should America attack Syria?

The House and Senate could vote as early as today on that question, according to a report Thursday by Democracy Now. The news program included footage of Florida Rep. Alan Grayson questioning Secretary of State John Kerry, who with President Obama is leading efforts to garner support for an attack.

“Have members of the Syrian opposition called for such an attack?” Grayson asked, “and if so, whom?”

“Not specifically that I know of … they have not advocated to me,” Kerry replied. “I’ve had conversations with the president of the opposition, and there was no pleading or urging to do this.”

Americans are war-weary. Any among us who don’t feel that are being informed through polls reported in the national media as we brace for a possible attack on Syria.

Our military went into Iraq because that nation possessed weapons of mass destruction, we were told. Our military adventure into Afghanistan was intended to get Osama Bin Laden, who was reported to have ordered the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on this nation. The Guardian newspaper reported barely a month after those attacks, however, “President George Bush rejected as non-negotiable an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan.”

We are weary of war, that’s for sure. But we’re even more weary, and leery, because our leaders have repeatedly lied to us as they sent our young men and women to their deaths.

Are they lying to us now?

America must respond to Syria’s use of nerve gas to kill its own people, we are told. Images that have appeared on our televisions, which have included rows of bodies, young, old, male and female, are certainly compelling. Even if our reasons for going to war are honorable, such action must bear promise of positive outcome or it will bring further futile waste of lives, American and otherwise.

Recent reports inform us Russia objects to our attacking Syria and has increased the military presence it maintains in the area. Rhetoric from Iran has been mixed but has included threats that country will retaliate against any American attack on its ally. Those facts raise the question, “how much war will we bring upon ourselves?”

Grayson thinks “the forces of warmongering and the forces of the military-industrial complex are headed for an historic defeat in the House,” explaining 19 members of Congress approve military action and 174 oppose it. Their reasons include, “it’s not our responsibility, it’s not going to do any good, it’s expensive and it’s dangerous,” he said.

To those we would add, “your justification, Mr. President and Mr. Secretary of State, is not irrefutable. It must be before you sacrifice even a single life.”

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