- - Tuesday, September 10, 2013


When it comes to reckless stupidity in Syria, Republican leaders in Congress sure are giving President Obama a run for his money.

So they are in favor of launching war on Syria, but they do not feel strongly enough about it to urge their members to support it? Seriously?

You are willing to put America’s firepower and potentially our troops in harm’s way for an action you are so lukewarm about that you won’t even pick up the phone to convince your fellow members that it is worthy? Wow. Talk about vital commitment.

But Mr. Obama promises a limited engagement, no boots on the ground? Seriously? What happens when Syria declares war back. Or Russia decides to defends her ally? Or Iran decides to fire on the USS Barry floating in the Persian Gulf.

Perhaps the single most basic rule of warfare is that you don’t get to choose when to stop fighting. Only your enemy can. All you can do is persuade them with as much pain as possible — a concept that President Truman, thankfully, understood oh so clearly.

But Republicans don’t have to go back as far as 1945 to realize this is a dangerous fool’s errand. Remember 2003?

That was the last time all these towering statesmen rose in a fury for war. Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against his own people. He harbored weapons of mass destruction that could slip into the hands of terrorists.

Oh, to read the strident statements people such as John F. Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph R. Biden made back then. They sounded every bit as sincere and committed as they do today.

“War!” they cried. And off to war we went. As always happens in war, things didn’t go exactly as planned or hoped. People got hurt. People died. The war became politically unpopular. Suddenly, all their steely convictions collapsed.

There were elections to be won and politics to be made off of all the blood of our troops that they voted to spill on the battlefields of Iraq.

Some in Congress never wavered and kept their commitments. But others in the War Caucus soon became the Cut-and-Run Caucus, denouncing President Bush’s plan to send reinforcement troops to the battle.

Leading the Cut-and-Run Caucus back then were the very luminaries calling for war again today. John F. Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph R. Biden.

For each of them, political posturing and pandering were far more important than the troops they had sent to war so blithely, many to their deaths.

It is a shocking insult to every American — especially the families who lost sons, fathers and husbands in their last whimsical war — that these people are allowed to remain in public office.

Each and every one of them who voted to go to war and then abandoned their convictions and our troops in their political greed should have been rounded up and drummed out of office. Instead, we have to listen to their cowardly cries to spill more blood for a political buck.

At the very least, haven’t they lost their right to rally us to war again? Better yet, we could just slap some uniforms on their weak, doughy bodies, give them each a gun and a Ka-Bar knife and drop them into Damascus to take care of their dirty work themselves this time.

If we ever hear from any of them again, they can tell us if it was worth it.

Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com or on Twitter @charleshurt.

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