Valdosta Daily Times

September 6, 2013

Syria politics makes strange bedfellows


The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — This week, The Times has asked readers on our online poll: Do you think the U.S. should strike Syria?

As of mid-afternoon Thursday, 556 respondents, or 78 percent of readers participating, answered, “No, the U.S. needs to stay away from the Middle East.” Eighty respondents, or 11 percent, voted, Yes. Another 80, also 11 percent, selected the option: “Not yet; keep trying diplomatically.”

So far, it seems the “not yet” option has been the one also selected by the nation’s leaders.

The President was prepared for a military strike. Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for American intervention. Then President Barack Obama took a step back from his red line and said he wanted to hear from Congress. Though he’s met with leaders from both sides of the aisle, he didn’t request Congress gather immediately to discuss Syria. Then comes word that the President may order a strike even if Congress does not approve American military intervention.

It’s a convoluted dance. In some corners, Obama will be scorned whether he acts or not. In waiting for Congress, some pundits painted the decision as cowardly ... though it doesn’t seem to take much imagination to guess how these same pundits would have reacted had the President acted without conferring with Congress.

Meanwhile, it seems strange to watch the creation of new alliances as pro-strike Republican senators seem to be on the same page as Obama, while some Democrats and Republicans sound alike in their belief America should stay out of Syria.

Judging from The Times poll, many of our readers seem to want the same thing as the latter.

Look at Facebook for another indicator of unexpected alliances. Seems strange to see FB friends who are usually dramatically opposed agreeing on the same political thread. Who would have thought your liberal friend and your conservative friend would agree with one another?

Deciding the next move in Syria deserves rational debate from leaders and citizens within our war-weary nation; however, from the looks of this debate, Americans may want to reconsider the labels we place on each other.