How Serious Are We About Syria?

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On virtually every decision that is made by our president, I find myself on the other side of the fence, but the recent events that have happened in Syria have caused me to part ways with my conservative friends and ask, “Is it possible that the president is actually right on this one?” How serious should we be about the atrocities that are being committed by the Syrian government against their own people?

The book of Obadiah sets a similar historical situation for our consideration. The Bible describes a time when foreigners were entering the city of Jerusalem carrying the children of Israel away captive. The Edomites did nothing to stop the atrocities but stood by and watched as the genocide was committed. The point is clear that we have a moral obligation to help people who are in distress. This is not so much a commitment to a police action as it is a commitment to a rescue mission. There appears to be solid evidence that the people of Syria are being chemically abused by their own leaders. I would argue that we have a moral obligation to stop it.

The logic for striking Syria seems to be the same logic employed by former president George W. Bush in issuing military strikes against the Iraqi administration of Saddam Hussein. Whether there were weapons of mass destruction or not, there was a man who was waging mass destruction against his own people. We were right to remove him from power. It appears that we have that right once again.

I would praise our president on several fronts. First, he is not willing to kowtow to the United Nations.  Since the Tower of Babel, it seems that God has seen nationalism, as opposed to globalism, as the right form of checks and balances in a topsy-turvy world. The United States does not have to have UN approval every time it seeks to employ its military. Our president, while a candidate, argued the opposite. I am glad that he is now willing for the United States to stand alone if the cause is just.

Second, I am thankful that our president has sought the advice of congress. While it is true that the president does not need congressional approval for police actions, it is equally true that the constitution grants the power to declare war to congress. Therefore, the president is wise in consulting congress and laying before them his reasons for military action before proceeding further. The Bible tells us that there is safety in the multitude of counselors. And the president appears to be serious in his seeking of advice, both from his security advisors and from his elected legislative branch.

Finally, I think it best when we recognize that not all flip-flops are bad. When an elected official has espoused a particular philosophy that is bad, there is merit in him saying that after thinking things through, he sees it differently now. There is no merit in being consistently wrong. Inconsistency is valid if it is moving from wrong to right. We have a Bible word for this change of mind – repentance.

My uncle Donald Blackburn has stated well my feelings on the matter. I would like to quote his most recent Facebook post: “The talking heads and media types on the Sunday talk shows kept saying ‘the American people’ were war weary. While I don’t like the idea of all this war talk, I am not war weary. I am Obama weary. I would much rather be going to war with a different Commander in Chief. How can we trust him? How can we trust his administration and leadership?” Well said, Uncle Don. This perhaps is the greatest issue.

We cannot however praise Bush on Iraq and slam Obama on Syria. For once, I tend to think our president is thinking right. I am not, however, convinced that he is the right president.  Just because I don’t like his social policies, however, is not the time for me to slam the potential strikes against Syria. It appears that something needs to be done, and we have the capacity to do it. If he chooses to act, I will support him the same way I did our previous president on Iraq.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Bob Ingram says:

    Great article! The one thing that scares me is; which faction will we back if we engage. Bush had a somewhat clear target, with no completion plan. Obama has no target nor plan.

  2. You bring up some sound scriptural principles. I confess that I struggle to decide where I should land on this one. I agree that we should not let our dislike of a politician or their body of work cause us to be stubborn when they actually get it right. My biggest struggle is that I fear that we are arming one set of terrorists to fight another set of terrorists. I deplore what is happening in Syria, but I am concerned that we will finance and empower people who will very possibly be just as bad as their predecessors. I appreciate your courage in writing and standing on a set of principles. You’ve given me some things to ponder. -MW

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