When were we made the executioner?

I must have been asleep! I somehow missed the fact the United States was appointed policeman, judge, jury and executioner of the world.

Yes, someone should do something about the mess in Syria, but that someone has to be a reformed and strengthened United Nations -- without the Security Council veto that has largely prevented the body from taking effective action.

The U.N. charter called for a charter review after 10 years. The veto-wielding big five (United States, Russia, China, Great Britain and France) have prevented that from happening.

Only a democratized United Nations or similar world body will be able to legitimately deal with situations such as present day Syria.

Robert F. Hanson

Walnut Creek

U.S. have has no legal right to attack Syria

President Barack Obama is about to pre-emptively attack Syria. Syria has not attacked us.

Syria, along with the United States, is a founding U.N. member. Syria could justifiably ask the United Nations to condemn the United States for charter violations. Article 2 (4) specifically forbids member nations from "the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity ... of any state." Obama may find that frustrating, but we signed on and a deal's a deal.

If launching missiles isn't an act of war, what is it? Obama talks of "no boots on the ground" as if troops must actually step on Syrian soil to call it a war?


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President Franklin D. Roosevelt said to Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, "a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire." Japan, up to that moment, had "no boots on U.S. ground" and yet FDR said we were at war. Do words now mean only what a leader says they mean?

Our noisy anti-war marchers of yore are extraordinarily noiseless.

Joe Moran

Orinda

We must not act as world's police

British intelligence, in laying the use of chemical weapons at the feet of the current Syrian regime, observes rebel groups lack access to chemical weapons, but that some are attempting to acquire them.

What interest does the United States have in replacing an authoritarian regime with civil chaos in which dominant factions might develop into an actual threat? As for the notion the United States must act as the policeman, if not the conscience of the world, who but ourselves hold this exceptionalist view?

We first supported Saddam (attempting to shift to Iran the blame for his much larger use of chemical weaponry against the Kurds), then lied to depose him because ... because what?

No, the United States is not the one to attempt to police this or any other region: When not devious, it is either ignorant, or from internal political pressures, unable to capitalize on what expertise it has.

Mike Bloxham

Kensington

Let's cut back on campaigns in Mideast

Syria has never threatened, let alone attacked the United States.

The United States must not engage in any military involvement in Syria. We must cease, rather than proliferate, our military campaigns in the Middle East.

Sean K. Lehman

Pleasanton

Obama has handled Syria situation poorly

I do not approve President Obama's handling of the Syrian situation for several reasons.

Obama hasn't yet identified our national interest. The probable use of poison gas is the "poster child" issue. Most wars, limited or otherwise, have an emotional justification to hide the real reason.

Obama has waited too long and given up the elements of surprise and uncertainty. Bashar Assad has had time to hide or dispose of his chemical weapons, as probably was done in Iraq.

Obama hasn't yet identified which rebel faction is likely to prevail, or if any are not Islamic zealots. I believe our real enemy in that region is Iran.

If an attack in Syria is justified, then Obama should be willing to act unilaterally. I am offended by the idea that we need approval by the United Nations or any of our dubious "allies." The only approval should be from the U.S. Congress.

Edward Zawatson

Concord

No diplomatic strategy means no coalition

No, I don't approve of President Obama's handling of the current Syrian situation.

His foreign policy is the flawed one he campaigned on and implemented when elected. Obama's 2007 essay in Foreign Affairs addressed how he'd renew America's leadership in the world. He said, "I intend to rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security."

One of Obama's first acts was to return a bust of Winston Churchill to Great Britain. He's done little to halt Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. He supported the overthrow of Libya's government and did nothing but talk when our ambassador was slain by a rebel mob there.

He supported the Muslim Brotherhood in their overthrow of Egypt's government and when the army responded with a coup, chose to ignore reality.

He's said President George W. Bush had problems with Iran and Syria because he didn't talk to them. Obama has yet to talk to them either.

No one wants to join his coalition to confront Syria. Obama has no diplomatic strategy and without a strategy no one will join his coalition.

Gregg Manning

Clayton

Orwellian wars widen Keynesian policy

I oppose American intervention in Syria partly because the probability of miscalculation is huge (World War III?) and because Syria's civil war does not justify military force.

The use of chemical weapons (by whoever) is not a threat to the United States. But Syria is merely the latest cog in the wheel. More important is trying to understand why our country is on a mission of perpetual war.

As a baby boomer, in my lifetime there have been ongoing wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, Bosnia, Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya, and potentially Syria. And to fill in the gaps, there was the Cold War and, now, the war on terror. Our war history seems eerily similar to Orwell's "1984" (nonsensical) theme of "perpetual war for perpetual peace." So why?

Historically, presidents start wars to divert attention from economic misery, unite the "unthinkers," and further expand Keynesian money printing.

But those promoting the perpetual war policies seem even more desperate this time. At some point, these misdirected policies will have to change.

Chris Kniel

Orinda

Action against Syria is time sensitive

President Barack Obama punted when he said in his Aug. 31 speech that action against Assad is "not time sensitive." Is he kidding?

Sure, our military can keep the warheads polished and bide its time until the order comes down. But what will Assad do with the extra time? Further entrench? Complete more countermeasures? Snuff out more children?

Now Congress clamors for its turn. If this infamous "do nothing" Congress wants a chance to debate, they must get back to work and do it immediately.

Meanwhile, Assad is laughing and the world laughs with him.

Guy Cooper

Martinez

Place Assad on trial instead of going to war

Rather than go to war, place Assad on international trial.

War is not the right answer. It is an immature reaction, born of the old eye-for-an-eye paradigm. War sows the seeds of future hatred, and more violence to come. We need a balanced response: a trial before the entire world.

The economic advantages of waging war -- U.S. military-industrial complex -- are outweighed by the needs of earth's people and for our evolution.

Dwight Stone

Walnut Creek