Rep. Owens, please support the president against Assad

To the editor:

I just answered Rep. Bill Owens’ requests for input on the Syrian situation with the following:

Dear Congressman Owens:

Nearly 10 years ago, I was one of many of your constituents who wrote your predecessor asking that he oppose President Bush’s foolish invasion of Iraq. We were right. Bush was wrong.

Today I am one of those writing you in support of President Obama’s request for your approval of limited military action against the Assad regime of Syria. I am certain once again that we are right to support this.

The U.S. cannot stand by while a dictator uses weapons of mass destruction, forbidden by international law, are used against his own people.

No one wants U.S. boots on the ground, but many Americans seem to have forgotten the effect of U.S. air power against the conventional weapons of dictators. In 1999 we did this to bring Milosevic of Serbia to his knees in a matter of weeks, thereby preventing a repetition in Kosovo of the genocide he had committed in Bosnia. Our cruise missiles and drone-launched Hellfires may have proved problematic when used against groups of people who may or may not be Taliban, but they proved extremely effective against the airfields, aircraft, command centers, tanks and artillery of our conventionally armed enemies.

Military intervention can lead to unanticipated problems, but so can passively standing by in face of crimes against humanity. Seventy-five years ago, decent people around the world did nothing but express horror when Mussolini used poison gas to help conquer the people of Ethiopia. The shocked, but passive, civilized world never imagined that its failure to act in the face of such evil could affect them. But Adolf Hitler and the Japanese militarists took notice, and within a few years, many of those same decent people, and their children, lay dead or maimed, their homes and cities destroyed in World War II. Can we now be sure that American inaction will have no consequences for us?

We can, and should, punish and deter this mass murderer.

Please support the president in taking action against Assad.


Philip K. Newton

Saranac Lake