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Tom Zirpoli: Learn from lessons of past wars

We never learn. Some American politicians just can't wait to get the United States into another war.

Republicans are lining up to pressure President Barack Obama into taking some form of military intervention in Syria's two-year old civil war. They have learned nothing from our national experience in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam.

What could possibly go wrong with the United States getting involved in a civil war in yet another Muslim country?

A significant amount of our national deficit is the result of our rush to wars during the previous administration.

Instead of raising taxes to pay for these two wars, the previous administration cut taxes, twice. These two decisions - going to war in two places while cutting taxes - accounts for half of our national deficit.

Our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have killed thousands of Americans in uniform, with tens of thousands disabled for life. Yet some of our politicians are eager to add to the list. After all, it will not be their spouse or child or grandchild marching off to war.

Before we start down the road to a war in Syria, perhaps we should require the politicians pushing for this newest intervention to visit the families of our dead soldiers and the injured veterans still in hospitals suffering from severe brain damage and damaged bodies. Perhaps this might bring them to some level of understanding of the results of their reckless and endless push to war.

Perhaps some of these politicians will volunteer to fight in Syria before volunteering our troops who, for many, have spent more time in Afghanistan and Iraq these past 10 years than with their families.

These politicians should listen to our generals. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey said last week that we should be "cautious" about intervening in Syria. He doubted that U.S. intervention would help stop the civil war or bring the many warring parties together. Dempsey doubted that our intervention "would produce the kind of outcome I think that not only members of Congress but all of us would desire, which is an end to the violence, some kind of political reconciliation among the parties, and a stable Syria."

Nevertheless, Sen. Lindsey Graham wants Obama to "give the right weapons to the right people" in Syria.

Of course, no one knows who the right people are in Syria. There are many rebel groups fighting the Syrian government, including several groups that our government has identified as terrorists. How do we send weapons to Syria without the risk of them falling into the hands of the wrong people instead of Graham's "right people?"

Another war hawk, Sen. John McCain, wants the president to establish a no-fly zone over Syria. But Dempsey said that 90 percent of the destruction in Syria is "caused by small arms and artillery, which would be unaffected by a no-fly zone."

McCain and Graham have no problem with sending U.S. pilots over the skies of Syria. Yet Dempsey warned that Syria has significant air defense weapons from Russia capable of shooting down U.S. planes. Dempsey also warned that disarming these air defense systems with cruise missiles would kill many Syrian civilians. Once Syrian civilians start dying from our intervention efforts, warn the experts, the Syrian population would quickly turn on Americans.

Just what we need: Americans killing innocent civilians in a third Muslim country.

Also, how is it that we can afford to intervene in Syria, according to these politicians, but need to reduce funding for American public schools in order to reduce our national deficit? Interesting priorities, don't you think?

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