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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Tom Driscoll
Aug. 30, 2013 11:06 a.m.







The soundbite that bit me this morning was the vote announced in Parliament. The U.K. will not act with the U.S. or alongside anyone else for that matter to punish the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons. A cheer went up —or maybe they call that ‘cheerio’ over there. As if resigned ineffectiveness in the face of barbarity was cause for celebration.

I don’t dispute that what to do in Syria is a thorny question. I don’t even mean to condemn the result of the vote. But whoops and hollers and high fives? Really?

When I heard this on my radio this morning I was reminded of the conversation I had with my son about this situation the other night. His comment was that he was most disappointed in the way the American public and its media —social, main stream, and partisan— was going about the debate on this question; how it seems that with this, like so many other important questions, the teams or brands of American politics were diminishing the discourse to a choice between caricatured extremes. Some would oppose intervention proclaiming ‘not another Iraq’ —as if whole scale invasion on the dubious premise of rumored WMD possession and targeted action upon a regime blatantly flagrantly using chemical weapons on civilian populations were basically the same thing. Others offer the supposed ‘realpolitick’ rationale of essentially a racism that divides our interests from those swarthy others who pray wrong— “they” are just killing each other after all, not our business —so the learned argument goes. This is sociology —it’s how “those people” are anyway. We simply can’t afford to budget them any concern.

There is something truly dissatisfying in the debate we hear.

Is there nothing that rises above the partisan posturing and promotions of personal brand politics? Nothing of more serious concern? I know that if we do indeed take action in the next few days and strike at the Assad regime I won’t be cheering like my team just scored a touchdown. This is horrific serious business we are considering. But I have to ask if instead we turn away from the bodies lined up in mass graves following upon the mass slaughter of civilians by Assad’s regime —when and if we shrug and resign from any effort —when we score this as some political folly for the President and Secretary of State —are we really going celebrate?

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