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Have at it: If talks fail, should U.S. strike Syria?

By   /   September 13, 2013  /   22 Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON – It’s hard to watch those images:

Hundreds of Syrians dead and dying in the moments after a reported gas attack the Obama administration insists was the handiwork of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

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.


MOURNING IN SYRIA: Syrian citizens weeping before bodies, the victims of an alleged poisonous gas attack last month.

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.”


ALL-TOO FAMILIAR: One more flag-draped casket comes home from war.

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]


M.D. Kittle is bureau chief of Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment Reporter for Watchdog.org. Kittle is a 25-year veteran of print, broadcast and online media. He is the recipient of several awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and others. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors. Kittle's extensive series on Wisconsin's unconstitutional John Doe investigations was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. His work has been featured in Town Hall, Fox News, NewsMax, and other national publications, and his reporting has been cited by news outlets nationwide. Kittle is a fill-in talk show host on the Jay Weber Show and the Vicki McKenna Show in Milwaukee and Madison.

  • Andy

    No our constitution says that we are not to get involved in other country’s internal affiars

  • RD707

    Absolutely not. Syria is not as real a threat to the U.S. and world stability as the White House, the Senate, and self-bastardized Republicans like John McCain, John Boehner, etc.

    The U.S. Oath of Military Service demands that the Constitution be protected against ALL enemies both foreign AND domestic.

    Failure to properly deal with our enemies on the DOMESTIC side (which DOES include military action from time to time according to Thomas Jefferson) will ALWAYS result in failure to properly deal with our enemies ABROAD as the current situation between Washington, Russia, and Syria demonstrates.

  • Edward Snowdon

    why on earth should you go around killing every one in the name of peace god gave you a mouth use it

  • Sailor661

    I am only for intervention if we are being attacked. We need to pay more attention to how DDE handled foreign interventions not how the last four so-called Presidents have handled them.

  • annie500

    No way. I am tired of sending our young men and women to die in barbaric countries that hate us. I also think we should stop bringing these people over here to destroy this country from within.

  • jacklohman

    I agree, but Lockheed and Boeing will disagree, and they send campaign cash!

  • Carl Powers

    My Question is Why would Assad Gas his own people when he is winning his war?
    I would have to have Absolute proof but there is a Strong Possibility that the Opposition did it. Either way, We should Let the Syrians resolve their Own conflict
    Until and unless Our Country and its populace is Directly affected.
    We need to focus on all the problems, Corruption and Failure of Leadership in our Government and refrain from Diverting attention just to deflect the fact that our President is making a HUGE mess of our country.

  • SRQTad

    No! Let Syria be Russia’s problem.

  • Clint Rhodd

    America has a big problem. We have a commander and leader that has never lead a Boy Scout Troop on a field trip. This President is our commander and chief. This president is a big joke. Watching this administration is like watching the Jerry Springer show on TV.

  • David Braden

    E-mail field won’t let me vote ! NO – NO – NO – NO – NO is my vote. I’m not with out a heart, yes it’s law/rule less but both sides are a poor choice to support. The reality of another “Nam” ( best case ) or WW3 worst case is where I feel it would go if USA does any kind of involvment !

  • FLCoyote

    No, No, No, Neither side is our friend. Will Al Quida really be pro
    U.S. if they come out on top. Assad will still be a ruthless dictator if his government prevails. We do not need to further stir the unrest in the middle east. Those people have been killing each other since the dawn of time and will continue killing each other until the end of time. An attack with no end game is just stupid, oh thats right the Democrats are running the show.

  • scott

    It’s pointless to attack at this point (although I would be surprised if we didn’t have people there already). Any weapons have been moved/hidden by now and Syria has been preparing for a possible attack.

    America will never be able to do much with the war on terrorism until they get serious about it and stop going in soft and playing for the politics. I was on the ground in Iraq as America tucked tail and ran out.

    We cannot sustain this type of war with conventional tactics, and we cannot afford to send a run-down military to war in another country.

    The real question in, how did Obama get a Nobel Peace Price for sending more troops to Afghanistan and now wanting to attack Syria?

  • No because even if we did, someone just as bad or worse would take over their government.

  • Michael

    No military strike against Syria unless they attack us directly. We are not the worlds police force, nor should we try. Look at the British empire. At one time the sun never set on it, and they got rich conquering the world. They went broke trying to police it. Besides, we have no friends in that place, and I frankly don’t care what goes on there.

  • danstewart

    H*ll no! The only reason it’s being considered is for the muzzie obummer to help his fellow muzzies to take over, just as happened in Egypt. The Egyptian military was able to correct the situation. Why is obummer allowed to continue sending weapons to these bastards who have vowed to destroy the US & Israel?? Because he is one of them.

  • Aaron

    Largest chemical weapons attack in history: US government on millions of innocent Vietnamese
    Second largest chemical weapons attack in history: US government on the people of Iraq with tons of radioactive uranium based munitions
    Largest military attack on civilians in history: US government nuclear attack vs people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    one could go on and on

    Yet there is moral authority for the US government to send more bombs on more civilians? I think not.

  • watcher

    Is it not the UN position to do something about the use of chemical weapons on civilians in Syria? What benefit would al-Assad get from using chemical weapons? Al-Assad knew about Obama’s red line, he knew gasing civilians would cause an outcry, he knew of the US threat to support his opposition, he knew more people would join the opposition; unless one thinks al-Assad is just plain stupid. However, the opposition would have very much to gain with the use of chemical weapons, bad news for al-Assad, provoke US in attacking Syria, as in bombing them and killing even more people. Perhaps even forcing armed confrontation between US & Russia. The question should be – Who benefits most? If the US bombs Syria, that is a declaration of war as when the US was “bombed” on 9/11; my opinion is that bombing Syria may set off terror attacks IN the US as retaliation. Strange isn’t it that Obama was eager to bomb Syria but no air support in the battle of Benghazi? Mabe Obama should give back his “Peace” prize? Divide and conquer – works well. Get the entire middle east fighting.

  • katie

    if WE WERE TO do anything, Humanitarian aid to the refugees in the surrounding countries. NO BOMBING NO MILITARY INTERVENTION. McCain and Graham go away.

  • Tornad0sRul

    EMPATHY. That is the word that we must focus on. If we do not have “empathy” for the way the women and children are killed in Syria, and for the way those poor people are forced to live their lives at the hands of psychopaths, then we are all narcissistic sociopaths, because narcissistic sociopaths have no empathy. Also, individuals like the leader of Syria and the leader of North Korea etc., wreak havoc on our world, and will continue to do so until they cause even more death and destruction. Leaders like those spread mental illness, violence, abuse, and crime. Leaders like those will not stop until they are forced to, and with the power that they have already accumulated in their own country, the citizens/people do not have the ability to stop them. Therefore it is OUR responsibility to help them, just like it is our responsibility to report child abuse/neglect or any other crimes that we witness. These are crimes against humanity, against human beings, and against children. If the superpowers of the world do not stop these monsters from spreading hate and death, then who will? No one will, and it will spread.

  • Fred

    One question a Crime Scene Investigator always ask is, “What was the motive for this horrible crime”. I haven’t seen any of our leaders come up with one.

  • Duke

    No one likes the little yellow wasps buzzing around the backyard these days, sometimes called “Yellow Jackets” due to their coloration. They can sting you, and they have seemingly no value other than for bird food, something that’s available in abundance in nature during the season that favors the Yellow Jackets. If they nest close to your back door, and if you have to walk past them again and again all day long, you stand a good chance of getting stung by the wasps. If they’re located near your compost pile in the woods behind the garage you’ll seldom see them if you don’t hang around back there. If you disturb their nest they’ll all pile out of the nest and attack their perceived threat. They are also a problem for peaceful bee-keepers, in that they invade the bee hives in an attempt to rob the honey from the peaceful, productive bees, killing many of the honey bees in the process. The Yellow Jackets don’t care if the kill some of them.

    If these pests are nesting at your back door they are a clear and present threat to you and your loved ones. If you locate their nest you can surprise them at night when they least expect it by pouring a pint of gasoline into their nest and killing them all. Simply poking a stick into the nest from time to time will only anger them and cause them to leave the nest, stinging many people needlessly. It might even cause some to leave the nest, get lost, and thus begin a new nest elsewhere, in which case you’ll have twice as many Yellow Jackets to deal with in the near future.

    Now, if you really hate these insects you could ferret them out wherever they live and pour poison on them. This would be good for the friendly honey bees and would reduce slightly the population of Yellow Jackets. There will always be Yellow Jackets, but now there will just be a few less. If they live in the woods near the compost pile you’ll notice almost no difference in the threat of being stung by the Yellow Jackets.

    Figure it out for yourself.

  • Duke

    Ed – do you really think God gave our current President a mouth?

    I think maybe it was the other fellow – Beelzebub, the father of lies.