Best option: Get chemical weapons from Assad now
There are only four outcomes that Syria's leaders and its people could realize:
■ President Bashar Assad defeats the rebels, stays in power with his chemical weapons and afterward retaliates with extreme prejudice against the rebel leaders and their followers — much like his father did in the early 1980s.
■ Assad defeats the rebels but agrees to turn the WMDs over to an international group in order to destroy them. This would come at a huge cost — witness what we are spending to eliminate the U.S stockpile just down the road from Lexington — but a worthy one.
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■ The rebels defeat Assad but in the meantime the WMDs have been removed or destroyed.
■ The rebels succeed with the chemical weapons intact and at their disposal. The radical fundamentalist groups would cherish the opportunity to obtain these WMDs and use them.
If they were to attack even one major city, much less several in the Mideast, Europe, the U.S., or elsewhere, this would bring about a global social and economic catastrophe that would make the past financial crisis appear to be a blip in regards to past recessions.
People would fear going outdoors, businesses would shutter, trade could come to a virtual standstill and markets would collapse.
It is because of this last scenario that we must at this time bargain with Assad to put these WMDs in the hands of an international coalition in order to remove them permanently.
Robert M. Hoeller
Don't fall for a ruse
The United States should be wary of getting tricked again into military intervention in another Middle East civil war. While perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks on civilians should be punished, the Syrian government has denied responsibility, and I've seen no proof that President Bashar Assad ordered that attack. It might be a ruse by the rebellion.
The United States fell for a similar ruse in Iraq and unleashed decades of pent-up hatred between religious sects.
Even if proof is found that Assad ordered the chemical weapons attack, the United States has no moral authority to lead an intervention. We still maintain an arsenal of chemical weapons left over from World War II, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons left over from the Cold War. We're the only nation to ever use atomic bombs, and we dropped them on cities populated mostly by civilians.
Many of our citizens, especially military veterans, think that we should never give up our own weapons of mass destruction. So we have no right to punish nations that own or use such weapons, unless they attack us.
President Barack Obama just slapped himself in the forehead and said, "Who knew?"
Here we were preparing to do something "unbelievably small" to Syria to force them to not kill their own people with chemical weapons only to learn within the past day or so that all along they have wanted to rid themselves of the lethal things.
In fact, they were so anxious to be rid of their WMDs that they used a few of them recently. If a few people paid with their lives, not to worry. That just reduces the number with which Russia, the ally of the USA for so many years, will have to deal.
What a wonderful end to a scary situation. I am joining Obama and slapping myself in the forehead and praying, " God help the USA and the world."
Sue Nall Allen
Save our tax dollars
I am afraid our young men and women will be called to fight yet another war. Not to defend our country but to choose a side in Syria's civil war. I am pleading with Kentucky senators and congressmen to vote against giving Syrian factions any of our tax dollars. I have not met one person who is for military strikes. We are tired, very tired of hard-earned dollars being used for war games.
We hear that Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid could become insolvent in the near future. We are borrowing money from China because we can't pay our current bills. We are tired of going to work every day and our tax dollars being used to police the world while our futures and lives are being sacrificed.
Please, not another war.
Missiles could backfire
Some bad things happen that are caused by bad people — chemical warfare being one of them. While I do not condone chemical warfare or warfare generally, it does not seem that we can do anything about the situation in Syria without killing at least as many innocent people as President Bashar Assad has.
If we could use a missile and only kill the people responsible for the use of chemical weapons that would be one thing. But what is the likelihood of that? A missile is to be shot from miles offshore and perhaps other factors will determine exactly where it will land. Almost certainly it will not land on (as another president would call them) "the evil doers."
Instead, they will explode in a neighborhood or an olive grove or some equally innocuous area where the only people killed are innocents.
If a drone can be used to take out Assad or his military chief of staff that's one thing. But most of the people of Syria are probably as involved in that war as you or I or that child behind the olive tree. Leave them out of it.
The U.S. military's killing of innocents will not change Assad's behavior. Not firing missiles will make all the difference to the innocent people and their families whom we do not kill.
Don't add civilian deaths
The Aug. 30 letter, "Let's be honest about civilian cost of strikes in Syria," was exactly right: U.S. military intervention in Syria would cause more, not fewer, civilian deaths. It's deja vu all over again.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed or injured as a result of the U.S. intervention to displace Saddam Hussein, but it was OK because we were backing the good guys. The carnage continues today.
The U.S. must not continue to use military force to police the world. The United Nations has to be the arbiter in these situations. We should exert our moral position through the U.N. with the cooperation of like-minded nations.
But perhaps military/industrial lobbyists have a role in our decision making? CNBC stock market analysts have been discussing the rising values in defense-industry stocks as a result of the intervention talk.
The defense industry is the only winner in our never-ending military adventures. Military intervention in Syria would only increase civilian suffering and create even more hatred of the United States. Surely the Iraq war taught us something.
Tired of war games
Syria is a quagmire. U.S. credibility is not at stake. Some people in the Arab world need to get off their chairs and do some heavy lifting.
No boots on the ground? But we will put butts in the air? Are they kidding?
President Barack Obama should not take any action that would require the American people to consider impeachment for lack of judgment. Our congressional leadership is so frail and ill, the people should decide. We cannot continue to bomb the world into behaving as we would wish. And do not dodge domestic bullets by firing bullets internationally.
Please keep in mind that many, if not most, Americans, continue to think we are limping along to obscurity while people in national and local governments play their games for selfish purposes.
Proctor S. Burress Jr.