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Thursday, September 05, 2013

When Public Opinion Doesn't Matter

Over a thousand civilians were murdered by Assad, with Sarin, a weapon of mass destruction. Their bodies were displayed in rows, without shrouds, for television cameras to broadcast, so all the world could see.  

Unfortunately, Americans living outside of Syria seem to have minds set against retaliating against the use of Sarin poison gas by Syrian President Al Assad, to kill civilians. Public opinion is, unfortunately, trending against Americans helping the victims of this genocide.  

War protesters with red painted hands showed up at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while Secretary of State Kerry explained the horror of Al Assad's genocide.

Public opinion is a measure of one point in time and it can be swayed, but defending innocents against genocide doesn't appear to be persuasive enough.  Public opinion doesn't measure how Americans would respond if our nations security were threatened with Sarin.

If Al Assad gets away with killing innocent civilians with Sarin, it's just a matter of time when this weapon of mass destruction will be used against Americans.  

Obviously, Americans are averse to another war for any reason outside of a threat to our national security.  Public opinion is certainly trending against Americans defending the murder of lines of dead innocents.  

War protesters don't get this.  

Nevertheless, they are experts at getting attention. They vigorously scream protests, paint graffiti peace signs and create bizarre costumes to demonstrate their opposition to war. We get their message, but in spite of their rigorous attention grabbing tactics, most protesters are not war victims.

A group of ostentatious protesters showed up to a Senate Hearing in Washington DC with their hands painted red. They kept red painted hands held high so the television cameras in the hearing room could see them, while Secretary of Defense John Kerry defended a proposal for a US military response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons against civilians, include hundreds of children, while he was speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Their salient made for TV hand message was "The US will have blood on its hands if there's a military response to Syrian genocide". 

These red handed protesters certainly weren't contesting the deaths of thousands of innocent people gassed by their own government. Instead, they protested America becoming engaged in yet another war. Their irritating red hands didn't change anybody's mind, but they were impossible to ignore. In my opinion, freedom of speech means everyone has a right to it; therefore, the red hand exhibition was the equivalent of a rude interruption to Secretary Kerry, acts which interfered with serious lawmakers who tried to focus on the purpose of the important deliberations.

Obviously, Syrians are desperate for help to overthrow the Al Assad regime.  Yet, it's impossible to know if American involvement will bring about a regime change.  

Life in Syria could even get worse, rather than improve, as a result of introducing more international carnage into the civil war.

Meanwhile, millions of Syrian refugees are pouring out of the country, causing another humanitarian disaster in Turkey.  

But, even genocide doesn't appear to be enough to move American public opinion.  

There are times when public opinion just doesn't matter. Lawmakers will vote on a proposal about retaliating against Al Assad based upon an international agreement against the use of poison gas, updated to include bacteriological agents, signed in 1925.

It's a shame to see Americans trending against a military response to the Syrian genocide, especially when we can't unite in favor of eliminating our national poverty or for providing access to basic medical care for all human beings.

Al Assad's heinous action against civilians will open the door to more violations of international law and, eventually, Americans will be the victims.

There are times when public opinion can't matter. 

Leaders and lawmakers must do what's right; we must consider retribution against genocide, precisely because public opinion is a moving target and will sway overnight if Americans should become victims of Sarin.

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