The U.S. is big enough and strong enough to act on behalf of the innocent victims, including children, who were killed in Syria by the chemical weapons. But those who are against it say this is not our fight. That we shouldn’t go it alone. That the chemical attack wasn’t against Americans. That we can’t be sure what we’d be getting ourselves into. And that there is no clear objective, other than acting in response to an atrocity.
I understand the reasoning.
Given all that, however, I wonder why was so many Americans were furious with former Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQueary.
He was the guy who saw the now imprisoned former coach Jerry Sandusky raping a boy in a Penn State shower.
McQueary was vilified for not acting to stop the attack.
This is an absurd comparison for any number of reasons. The most obvious is that no one would have been put in danger, and the financial costs were nil, for the Penn State coaches to stop Sandusky's abuse. Further, Penn State officials had a clear legal obligation for the safety of folks on their property. Finally, Penn State had the ability to easily stop and prevent the illegal activity.
None of these statements are true for Syria. The costs in lives and property, both to ourselves and to the citizens of Syria, are potential enormous. It's not clear it is the US's job to police the area, and in fact history has proven that unilaterally adopting the policeman role, even with the best of intentions, can hurt our country's reputation and relations in the long-term. Finally, its not at all clear that we could stop Assad from doing whatever he wishes, short of sending in troops to remove him from power, and even then his replacement may likely be just as bad. Oddly for a liberal in the foregin policy sphere, Montini seems to be making a form of the "might makes right" argument, that the US is obligated just because it is big and strong.
Tellingly, I don't see Montini advocating for use military force to help citizens in any other of the scores of countries where they are being mistreated. It is more likely that what Montini is really concerned about is the loss of the prestige and credibility of Barack Obama. A lot of blood has been spilled for thousands of years for the prestige of state leaders. I for one am happy if this country is finally wising up to this game.