Children and Chemical Weapons

President Obama is in a difficult position, attacked from both sides for his changing position on Syria. Should the United States intervene militarily or not?  What are the positive results and unintended consequences of our action or inaction? What if we help the rebels overthrow Assad, but the Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda gains control? What is the basis for intervening in Syria when many nations and dictators have committed atrocious acts, killing millions of their own people?  What is America’s responsibility to hold the world to a standard of life affirming behavior?

In regard to the present crisis, I don’t know. I feel compassion for the president in what is perhaps the most uncomfortable decision of his presidency, rightly disturbed by the use of chemical weapons, abandoned by his own liberal base in his plan to “send a message,” attacked from the other side for his indecision, too much telegraphing of what we might do, the changing trajectory as Russia’s Putin inserts himself into the conversation and has the audacity to claim the high moral ground. The president surely feels the weight of his decisions in the evolving scenario.

I have my own opinions about various aspects of it, but this blog’s purpose is not to vent my political views. I wouldn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said by the talking heads in the media.  And it’s not my role to advise the president, but to pray for him.

But there is a tragic irony to this discussion that cannot be ignored.  How can America be the voice for defending the world’s defenseless children from chemical weapons when we kill far more children than Assad?  How can we claim the high moral ground when we allow and defend the right to chemical and surgical abortion? John Knight expresses it well in his open letter to the president, Protect the Children from Chemical Weapons 

I know some will protest that these are two distinct issues, a legal private decision to choose an abortion in contrast to a dictator’s brutal decision to kill his enemies, including children, in disregard of international law.  I agree there are differences. But the central fact that unites these issues is that defenseless children of equal and precious worth are being killed.  We cannot claim high moral ground in confronting the world’s sins as long as we allow our own children to be attacked with no one to defend them. Pray that our president and our whole nation would be awakened to his tragic reality.

A related matter that has created significant discussion and anger over the years is the comparison of Hitler’s extermination of Jews in the Holocaust to America’s Abortion Holocaust.  And if you compare the numbers, Hitler comes out looking like the good guy.  But, again, there are significant differences that pro-life advocates should acknowledge.  But there are similarities too that require consideration.  Listen to this episode of Ask Pastor John, Is Abortion like the Holocaust?

Regardless of your views about our president and what you think he should do with Syria, be faithful to pray for him.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for  all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1, 2

One thought on “Children and Chemical Weapons

  1. I appreciate and agree with your comment about abortion. However, I am not completely sympathetic with the President. I see this as a political dilemma he is facing rather than a moral one. I guess my view is the Constitution and the War Powers Act are clear military force is to be used when there is a “clear and present danger to our national security.” President’s undoubtedly have interpreted that clause liberally, but some connection must be shown to our national security. To use military force otherwise puts us in the position of potentially getting involved in all kinds of conflict. It seems to me that Obama could be consistent with his “red line” statement and still respond with the use of military force.

    In the late 1930’s the Japanese committed genocide in Mongolia killing millions and enslaved and prostituted many Korean woman. Franklin Roosevelt embargoed U.S. oil to Japan. This put Japan over a barrel (no pun intended), as they are dependent on many other countries for many natural resources. As a matter of fact some of Roosevelt’s critics argued that this action was the motivation for Pearl Harbor, which indeed it was. However, Roosevelt is not responsible for Japan’s motivation. They had a choice to either relent from their aggression or pursue it further. They chose the latter for which Roosevelt is not responsible

    It seems to me that working with our allies in the region Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Israel we could have taken strong action, that would have greatly impacted the Assad regime without making an innocuous strike that will accomplish nothing. I find it interesting that John Kerry when running for President was asked under what condition he would use military force said quote, “I would put it to the global test.” He said his standard of intervention would be world opinion. This world is against this action and the President has failed to persuade many people of our national security interest since we are still uncertain exactly which side used the weapons.

    I do respect the office of the Presidency and the languishing this kind of a decision takes, and frankly I do believe the United States is uniquely positioned to effect the world for good, and we have obligation to act in response to atrocities whether committed in Mongolia, Syria, Kurdistan, the Sudan, Turkey, Rwanda or any place else. I just think the lesson of some of the conflicts we have engage militarily in the 20th century makes me reluctant to use military force if some direct connection to our security or our one or our Allies cannot be established. As a parent of a soldier I do not know what my son would be fighting for if we got engaged militarily in this conflict. It certainly would not be justice, and it would not be democracy.


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