In theory and policy it is not a good thing that a president make unilateral decisions about making war in foreign lands. The power to do so ought not exist.
Congress was established to provide checks and balances so that no one person would have the power to decide and execute orders as massive as sending American troops into war-like situations.
However, the Republicans in Congress have demonstrated time and time again that they are not willing to act rationally for the benefit of the US and the people they are supposed to represent. They have shown that they will oppose any efforts the president makes just because he is the person making them.
If it is true that ISIS is a fascist regime presently committing genocide, killing people who do not agree with their extreme religious beliefs, this puts President Obama in an unfortunate position.
If I were in his place and had the opportunity to stop a genocide, I think the moral imperative might very well be take military action against ISIS, which is to say, to kill them.
I say this as a pacifist and someone who does not believe that peace can be achieved through aggression and war.
In very extreme cases, and it does not get much more extreme than genocide, the compassionate action might actually be murder.
It is not compassionate to allow a group of people to indiscriminately kill innocent people due to…any reason.
At the same time, air strikes, no matter how well planned or intentioned have shown time and time again to result in unintended casualties of innocent people. Killing innocent people automatically strips away any semblance of moral authority that one might imagine themselves to have.
“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.” ~ Howard Zinn
Instead, why not send the elite special forces who are trained to operate in the most extreme of circumstances to take out the actual perpetrators of the genocide? This action seems to reduce the risk of so-called collateral damage greatly.
A person who joins a special forces outfit, such as, the Navy Seals has willingly agreed to give their life in service of their country. An innocent Iraqi child has not.
This example illustrates the need for a rational and mature Congress that can discuss issues and make decisions for a common goal rather than for childish and destructive political positioning.
Perhaps the most we can do is realize the power that we have as informed citizens and really begin to share our voices and demand that our elected officials represent the people they are serving (you know, representative democracy), to reverse harmful policies and practices, and act to benefit the common good.
The president will outline his views and plans in a nationally televised address tonight.
[Editor’s note: This is, as is most everything, opinion and does not represent anyone’s views other than the author’s.]
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