Tahlequah Daily Press


September 2, 2013

Cole’s cautious position on Syria the best

TAHLEQUAH — Americans keeping up with the volatile situation in Syria may be recalling the ramp-up to war in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last decade, and thinking it’s “deja vu all over again.”

According to polls, most Americans do not favor U.S. involvement in this so-called “civil war.” While a chemical attack launched last week by the al-Assad regime likely killed hundreds of civilians, it didn’t much change the opinion of folks who are tired of the U.S. tendency to serve as the world’s policeman.

Despite assurances by the Bush administration that U.S. troops and resources would not become bogged down on those two Mideast battle fronts, that’s exactly what happened. Few would now question the assertion that these wars cost America not only thousands of lives, but billions of dollars that could have been put to better use elsewhere – for instance, on our crumbling infrastructure, educating our children, or helping impoverished citizens pull themselves up by the bootstraps. And that doesn’t even take into account the mental scars brought back by thousands of soldiers.

Unfortunately, many Americans don’t have long memories, which is why we tend not to learn lessons of the past. And if the average citizen can’t remember mistakes of a few decades ago, politicians can’t recall past a two-year term.

President Obama seems to be spoiling for action in Syria, and has even hinted the U.S. might “go it alone” if other allies aren’t in on the deal. Indeed, the list of supporters grows ever sparser: The UK decided at the end of last week to nix a role, although France says it’s still in. But other countries are asking for more time for U.N. inspectors to make a report, or simply for more time to consider options.

Meanwhile, many in Congress are reticent, although a few hawks are spoiling for battle. Ironically, some of those most opposed were all for jumping into Iraq with all barrels blazing when Bush was in the White House – which suggests their opinion about Obama, rather than what’s best for Syria or the U.S., is the driving force.

It’s hard to miss the parallels with 12 years ago. Should we assume Obama knows more than he’s telling about Syria, or should we assume many in the Beltway have done an about-face on how they view participation in overseas conflicts?

Oklahoma Republican Congressman Tom Cole – probably one of the most sensible and bipartisan souls in that party – should be viewed as a bellwether. Last week, Cole was one of 140 members of Congress – 21 Democrats among them – who signed a letter urging Obama to back down on his threat of a military strike without congressional consent.

That seems like a rational position. Before Obama does anything, he needs to ask himself whether we can afford to intervene. And by “afford” we don’t just mean the expenditure of money, though the action would undoubtedly mean the use of funds we can’t really spare. There are other costs to consider, not the least of which is innocent lives.


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  • Tourism Council and chamber should cut the proverbial cord

    They are defined by two separate purposes and operate under two distinctive sets of bylaws, but years of conflicting opinions have left lingering questions and confusion over the relationship between the decades-old Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the younger Tahlequah Area Tourism Council.

    July 30, 2014

  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014


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