Tonawanda News

Columns

September 11, 2013

DUVALL: The lesson of 9/11 is being relearned in Syria

Tonawanda News — Today is the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It strikes me as rather fitting we’re made to decide what to do about Syria on the day when we reflect on our own nation’s promise to fight the forces of terror and extremism.

President Obama made a forceful and persuasive argument Tuesday night for the use of American military force to stop the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. 

One of the lessons we learned on 9/11 is that with great freedom comes great responsibility.

As Obama rightly noted in his speech to the nation, we don’t possess the capability — nor is it our job — to be the world’s policeman. Atrocities happen every day that America could stop if we chose. We do not because no amount of military might will rid the world of evil and there exists a sensible delineation between what we must stop and what we must watch go by the boards.

And as we make that decision on Syria, the president’s intervention is at risk of being talked to death. 

Where once the only options appeared to be military action or nothing, there exists now a diplomatic solution that seems even less likely to deter the Assad regime’s larger crimes against its people.

Everyone would love a diplomatic solution like the one being debated between the United States and Syrian ally Russia wherein the Syrians hand over their chemical weapons to international monitors. Perhaps no one more than the president himself could benefit from avoiding the use of force in Syria.

Such a decision to bomb Damascus remains unpopular in Congress and in the American public so a diplomatic solution seems worth pursuing. It is supported by the United Nations and allies who don’t themselves want to act.

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