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Syrian conflict

September 25, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

I remember as a kid going to the Saturday matinees at the local movie house. The "Red Ryder" series, starring Wild Bill Elliott, was one of the main features of the show. (Owning a Red Ryder BB gun was the dream of every boy of that time.)

These movies were the quintessential "American Values" morality plays of good vanquishing evil. Practically every episode ended with Red Ryder standing over the prostrate bodies of the several "baddies" he had just beaten the crap out of. His closing line was invariably, "I'm a peaceable man. You shouldn't oughtta made me done that."

They were fiction, for crying out loud!!

In the recent past we had a president who didn't understand that. Witness Iraq and Afghanistan in which going in with great swagger and beating the crap out of the baddies didn't quite work out as efficiently as it did for Red Ryder. These forays cost us several thousand American lives and trillions of dollars. For what? Iraq has become an ally of Iran and Afghanistan, is still corrupt and wants us out. Terrorists are still plotting against us all over that part of the world, not to mention here at home.

Yet, in the current situation with the use of chemical weapons in the civil war in Syria, we still have a strange collection of Congresspersons who still have the same "Fire, Aim, Ready" philosophy. They want us to go in there shooting without any thought as to whether any good will come out of it or not.

We now have a President based in reality who prefers to have confirmable facts before acting. He is too young to know Red Ryder. I agree that he painted himself into a corner with his "red line" statement a tactical error. Two weeks ago, we were getting ready to attack Syria with missiles and bombs. The situation was changing hourly. Now, whether by design or just dumb luck, we and the Russians appear to have reached an agreement that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad also appears to have bought into.

There's no reason to trust Russian president Putin or Assad, other than they may have decided that Syria's giving up their chemical arsenal is in their best interests, too. I hope the current "agreement" will work. It will save face all the way around. Verification is clearly a part of it. I do believe that keeping the threat of military action active will help Assad decide to relent. If the agreement comes unglued, or Assad tries to cheat on it, we can always attack Syria later. The US Navy warships are still standing by.

Getting rid of the chemical weapons without attacking Syria is a far better outcome than bombing them with no guarantee that it would work. Sooner or later, Assad will be removed from power. If he's still alive when that happens, there will be plenty of time to bring him to justice for his crimes against his own people.

Some of our chronic Obama-haters are whining about the president's "indecisiveness, lack of leadership and America's loss of stature" by his not sending missiles. What short memories they have. Our international stature was reduced to zero by Obama's predecessor. They're also crying that Putin will receive the credit for bringing about a diplomatic resolution if it happens.

As to who gets the credit, if the outcome is a good one, frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn.

Jay Light

Fort Myers Beach



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