Obama Supporter Not Buying War

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you always agree with him or support him when you think he’s wrong.

That’s exactly how I felt when I thought President Obama was leading us into another conflict in the Middle East. I was upset. I was afraid. I wanted to scream.

And then I saw the horrific footage from Syria. Civilians – so many children – writhing and dying in agony. It made me sick.

I did not change my opposition to a strike, but the footage did shift my thinking, as I think it would anyone who sees it.

I believe we must do something to prevent Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad from his cold-blooded determination to unleash sarin hell on the citizens of his country. I also believe there has to be a better way than to send in U.S. missiles.

In talking to people, I’ve concluded that many Americans have been following the developments – closely or not-so-closely – because there is so much at stake. I don’t believe “we the people” are wrong in our almost universal opposition to military action aimed at a country embroiled in a vicious and tangled civil war, in a part of the world that is the very definition of the phrase “powder keg.”

I really don’t think our country can afford it – economically, emotionally, spiritually.

But that’s not an argument for zero involvement. The world must have a way of shepherding an untenable situation toward a better resolution. Not a perfect resolution, mind you, but a better one. I believe that way is through diplomacy.

I almost fell over with relief when President Obama pushed himself away from the brink. He absolutely did the right thing by taking the matter to Congress. Did he do it because he heard the pleas of citizens? Because so many in Congress called for it? Because he saw he was on politically dangerous ground? It really doesn’t matter. He did it.

And I was even more thankful for a series of quicksilver events that led to a sliver of an opening for a diplomatic way out. A seemingly offhand remark from Secretary of State John Kerry, swift follow-up by Russia and then by Assad’s regime, and then the involvement of the United Nations.

Suddenly there was an admission by Assad that, yes, they did have a huge stockpile of chemical weapons. But there was also the possibility this could be resolved with talk, not bombs. A slim possibility, but it was something.

Whew. The world appeared sane again. Did anyone else out there feel like they’d just been put through the wringer?

As I said at the top, you can love and respect someone and still disagree profoundly with some of his choices. I have supported our President from the beginning. But I did not support him in this. I was angry and disillusioned in the man who ran on an anti-war platform. I was more than relieved when he listened to the voices and pulled back to allow for a peaceful resolution.

I understand military action is still “on the table,” but the more important thing is that’s it’s not the only thing on the table.

Mr. President, all we are saying is give peace a chance.