On the surface it sounds like a virtuous ideal: America, which has long stood against tyranny and injustice throughout the world, coming to the aid of the Syrian people in upholding the international ban on chemical weapons ("A shaky but promising deal on Syria," Sept. 16).
However, what is often overlooked is that the U.S. did not come on board until 1975, after it had already dropped sarin gas on a village in Vietnam, presumably eradicating some of the enemy as well as many innocent civilians.
Lt. Robert Van Buskirk told CNN/Time that he was ordered to massacre everyone in the village. "My orders were, if it's alive, if it breaths oxygen, if it urinates, if it defecates, kill it."
Retired Admiral and former Secretary of Defense Thomas Moorer told CNN/Time that the United States did, in fact, have CBU cluster bombs designed to deliver lethal gas, and they were repeatedly used in Vietnam.
Napalm, an American favorite, used from about 1965 to 1972, generates temperatures of 1,500 to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. It sticks to anything it comes in contact with, and burns up to 10 minutes. The effects of napalm on the human body are said to be unbearably painful and almost always cause the death of its victims. A single bomb was capable of destroying up to 2,500 square yards, and between 1965 and 1973, some eight million tons of bombs were dropped over Vietnam. And that doesn't include Agent Orange.
So, we have to ask ourselves and our government why did all the nations in the so-called "civilized world" stand back when the United States was lobbing chemical-laden UCBs into Cambodia and Vietnam? And where are they now?
Why is it America's obligation to bomb Syria in defense of Syrian rebels without international approval? And who is going to clean up the mess?
It is clear that many if not most of the Syrian people want Assad out. But what happens after he is gone? Peace and harmony? Doubtful.
Will Islamic terrorists groups then move in? Will various rebel factions fight for control? Possibly. But any way you cut it, there will still be unrest in Syria and many innocent people will die.
No matter which path the U.S. chooses it will prove futile in the end. It's a no-win situation. So why put the lives of our young people at risk? Haven't we been down this road before?
Ron BlainCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun