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Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Baton Rouge, Louisiana



Here we go again. Another prolonged military campaign in the Middle East. Is the President justified in waging a new war that will emanate in Syria, but raises numerous questions as to where it all will end? Louisiana congressional members have been oddly silent on the President’s new counter terrorism assault. The Bayou State has no representation on the key congressional national defense committees.

But isn’t it reasonable to expect that the elected officials representing us in Washington at least owe it to their constituents to firmly articulate how involved the U. S. should become in a new Middle East war effort? Hey, guys, Mary — we are about to become ensnared in another war that will cost $billions, and who knows how many lives. You owe it to the folks who voted you into office to speak up. If you were to hold a town meeting (rarely held by Louisiana representatives and senators any more), here are just a few of the questions that you should ask.

Is ISIS, a terrorist network operating primarily in Syria, a direct threat to the U.S? The director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, doesn’t think so. Olsen said this week that ISIS has no cells in the U.S. “We have no credible information” that the group, “is planning to attack the U.S. ISIS, is not al Qaeda pre-9/11.” So members of congress, do you feel differently? Do you have credible information that we need to jump into the fray as we did in Iraq?

Is the President reacting emotionally to the recent beheading of two American journalists? If they had not been killed, would we be responding the same way? Julian Reichelt is the chief editor of the German paper BILD, and was a war reporter in Syria. He recently wrote: “Most Western journalists had given up covering Syria because ISIS was actively hunting down reporters. “˜Stay safe “” don’t wanna see you in some YouTube video,’ had become a common, now darkly prophetic, line between parting journalists in the hotels on the Turkish side of the border.” These reporters knew well they were facing grave danger, yet still entered harm’s way. Does America go to war because of the serious risks these journalists chose to take in a war ravaged nation?

Is this America’s war alone? The New York Times implies that it may be. The Times headlined last week, “Arabs Give Tepid Support to U.S. Fight Against ISIS.” U.S. fight? If ISIS is so dangerous, and such a threat to the entire region, why is this labeled a U.S. fight? Why isn’t it an Arab fight, a European fight or a united allied fight against a dangerous enemy? Only a handful of countries are offering tepid support to the American effort, and even these friendly nations are offering little more than lip service. No troops, no planes, and little, if any, money. Just let the U.S. do all the dirty work. So, Louisiana congressmen and senators — is this just one more American effort where few others seem to care?

Will you listen to the voices of our present and former military leaders? Congress is full of “shoot from the hip” members who never served a day in the military. (The only member of Louisiana’s congressional delegation to serve is Representative John Fleming who joined the Navy.) Why are the chicken hawks always the first to call for jumping into a war? Remember former Vice President Cheney’s comments when asked why he didn’t serve in the military? He responded that he had “other priorities?” General Colin Power and General David Petraeus have warned to move cautiously in expanding our Middle East war efforts. Do you agree?

Will you insist on a vote in congress to authorize and military action in Syria, Iraq, or any other Middle Eastern country? A number of news articles have reported that congress wants to dodge such a vote. The Constitution gives to you, members of congress, the sole power to declare war. Will you insist on such a vote, and articulate in detail why you are for or against our continuing and growing war effort throughout the Middle East?

Look, I’m not arguing against strongly defending the United States. I’m a proud American, who served in the military, and I fly my country’s flag every day. But our track record halfway around the world has been weak, where we have too often used shoot from the hip strategies that have not been fully vetted. We Louisianans are not privy to the military intelligence needed to draw informed conclusions. Members of congress, you are. It’s time to come back home and convince us that the President is on the right track, and, just maybe, we can get it right this time.


“God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”

“• Mark Twain

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownla.com.  You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownla.com.


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