By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON – It’s hard to watch those images:
Those bloodshot eyes, watery and fading. Men and women, heaving, vomiting, racked by the apparent toxins coursing through their bodies. Small children convulsing on the tile floors of hospitals overflowing with human misery.
These images are difficult to look at without wanting to take action, to hold somebody responsible for such heinous crimes against humanity.
Here’s another image that’s hard to see, an image Americans have watched too many times over the past dozen years:
A young U.S. soldier returning home from a faraway war, in a casket draped with an American flag.
Staff Sgt. Jesse Grindey of Hazel Green, for example. The 30 year-old military policeman said to have the “heart of a lion” was killed in March 2012 while serving his country in Afghanistan. It was his second deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, the Department of Defense said at the time.
His community was heartbroken at the loss of a young man who began volunteering at the local fire department when he was 18.
“It’s a sad thing,” Hazel Green Fire Chief John Piddington told WKOW-TV at the time. “We lost one of our own.”
Those are the kinds of images Congress and America must reconcile as politicians and diplomats debate and negotiate war or an alternative.
The Obama administration has argued for carrying out limited military strikes to obstruct al-Assad from using chemical weapons against regime opponents. The president accuses al-Assad’s army of killing 1,400 civilians in suburban Damascus last month.
Now Russia – Syria’s best pal – is involved, leading a plan that would take al-Assad’s chemical weapons in exchange for a vow from the United States to stand down. The point may be moot, anyway. Congressional support for military intervention appears to be waning in Obama’s own party.
But the sabre rattling is far from over.
Secretary of State John Kerry made clear Thursday in comments after a day of negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the threat of U.S. military force remains on the table, if Syria refuses to turn over its stockpiles.
“This is not a game,” Kerry said.
With so much at stake, we ask you: If negotiations break down, should the U.S. engage in a military – probably unilateral – action in Syrian? What images stick with you in this debate?
Contact M.D. Kittle at [email protected]