Warning: please put on your big boy/girl panties/boxers/briefs if you are going to read this post.
If my Facebook newsfeed is a microcosm of society, I would say the line between those who support US military action and Syria and those who don’t is drawn between Jew and non-Jew.
Even left winged Jews, like me, who are opposed to war, like me, who are in favor of trading land for peace, like me, expressed disappointment at President Obama’s speech today where he has said he will now go to Congress to seek support for military intervention.
Non-Jews collectively seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at Obama’s speech. Jews, on the other hand, reacted with disappointment and even anger that despite the tough talk of the last week, Obama is not being decisive or honoring his red line but instead putting the responsibility on the US Congress. Many American non-Jews are understandably war weary and feel that this is just another case of the US defending our oil interests.
The biggest irony? Those opposing President Obama’s course of action the most? Israelis. People living a mere 100+ miles from Damascus, who have been told by Iran and Syria that the first move if the US attacks will be to attack Israel. They, if anyone should be jumping for joy at President Obama’s decision today if anyone is.
Could it be that we Jews, through our history and our experience understand all too well what happens when nations do nothing in the face of evil?
There are lots of sensible reasons to be against any military intervention in Syria, for lots of reasons – it won’t accomplish anything, the American people are largely against it and the country can’t afford it. The lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan looming prominently in people’s minds and the sheer fact that there is nothing for the United States to gain in launching cruise missiles at Syria. I get it, it won’t stop the fighting, it might escalate it and draw others into the conflict. Strategically, economically, every which way there is nothing to gain.
Except maybe the peace of mind that comes with knowing we did something, that we didn’t just bury our heads in the sand and count up strategic pros and cons on some list, but that we actually stood up and said that gassing people is wrong. That we sent a message to all those who think so little of human life that this will not be tolerated, that there are some things which count for more than strategy.
That’s a pretty big reason.