I do not think that the U.S. should lead a strike, nor that there should be any strike unless conducted by the U.N. Here’s why:
1) I listened to Obama’s address (well, I only read it in a White House e-mail that was sent out), and it was indeed reasonable and convincing. However, earlier that day I had received another e-mail by Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun Magazine addressing Obama’s not yet formulated address and Congress. The point of Rabbi Lerner made more sense to me. Point 2 addresses that point.
2) The U.S. has forfeited any right to be “world policeman” by virtue of their own human rights violations. Speaking of “American Interests” rather than human rights made me ponder the first moment I heard it. What? American Interests? - That was my point. The Rabbi pointed out that any strike would not end the war, nor remove Assad, so it would simply be a “showing muscle”, which will enrage people even further. Which leads to point 3.
3) In the e-mail I got it was acknowledged that it was “clumsy” and not the best solution there is, but it pointed to a different direction, a different logic of dealing with these things for the future. And one in that America could lead, non-violently. - Since neither a strike nor no strike would end the war, the only other means are diplomacy. The hands of the U.N. are tied because of Russia’s and China’s veto rights. Would the U.S., would Obama call for a similar meeting outside the U.N., utterly democratic, no large nations having veto rights, an international decision on these things could be reached, and should the nations vote for a strike it would be a worldwide decision, under a leadership they might choose, possibly the U.S. - But so far, without the U.N., without even wanting to do anything other than showing power, this type of “warfare” will never end. It will just keep going and going. The entire logic has to change.
I did take Obama’s message as very good, but thinking about future scenarios like that these “old school” punishments by the bigger powers against the smaller ones… they don’t do anything except keeping rumors underground waiting for the next best opportunity to try again.
The point of chemical weapons in the hands of others, possibly terrorists, was a good one… but I see Bush rhetoric. Unless this is about human rights, I really do not think the U.S. has to fear anything. Terrorism? Way overblown in its power, hence of good use to people that like fighting.
In case you care to see the e-mail I mentioned, here is the link: