Paul Bonnifield: Standing tall in Syria


Rob Douglas’s article “Stay out of Syria” was well written and clear to the point, but it fails to consider several important factors. If the United States chooses to do nothing, will the world be a better place and will America be safer? It will either go up or it will go down. It will not stay the same.

I served my country, and members of my family paid a very high price in World War II, Vietnam and Iraq. So, I’m very much aware of the human cost of war. Any student of the Cold War realizes it was a long, 45-year struggle of surged wars that were fought on many fronts and by methods that include all of the social, political and economic aspects of society. Vietnam nearly tore the nation apart. In the end, it was only a battle, a major and tragic battle, in the Cold War. In hind sight, and not seen at the time, that fight had to be fought although the gains were limited. Surprising nearly everyone, in the late 1980s, the Cold War ended. Communism was defeated. If at any time along that long, hard road, the United States lost its nerve and shrank from the battle, the communists would have won the war.

Douglas was right when he spoke of being involved in a world war. We are involved in a world war. Syria simply is a battle in that war. As so often in large wars, the battles never are clear cut. I, for one, was a critic of the war in Iraq, but I must admit that Iraq is a much better place now than when America invaded. An important factor that must be recognized is despite the terrible sacrifice, harsh criticism and war-weary nation, the United States accomplished a great deal — but not everything.

It also must be recognized that 9/11 was every bit as much an attack on the United States as the attack at Pearl Harbor. The war beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, continues, and we cannot shrink from it or escape it. We are at war, like it or not. No war is good, but we either fight the war or give up and suffer the consequences. It is going to be a long, hard war, and the only way our enemy can defeat us is by defeating our resolve. All modern wars are wars against the masses, and they are the cruelest wars; they are long wars and they test the resolve of the people and their government.

If we don’t stand tall in Syria, then when will we stand tall? When a platoon or company was on patrol in Vietnam, they did not have the choice of where they fought the enemy. Often it was in the worst possible place. Yet, they had to fight the fight where the fight was and hope for the best. Often the price was high. In the end, communism failed, and freedom prevailed. Now we are faced with the question — do we have what it takes to see us through the hard fight when the going is tough and there is no glory nor clear victory?

On Sept. 11, 2001, war was declared on the United States. Do we have what it takes to fight that war? There will be no glory, and no one will be singing the patriotic songs of World War I.

Paul Bonnifield



Karl Koehler 3 years, 7 months ago

One person not surprised by the end of the Cold War was President Ronald Reagan, the man who provided the steadfast leadership required to finally bring the communists to their knees in that conflict. Sadly in my view, and given the contemporary state of world affairs not coincidentally, President Reagan also happens to have been the last clear eyed conservative to occupy the Whitehouse.

Contrast Reagan's example with the cross eyed, stumbling, constantly evolving leadership style of the current administration and you have more than ample justification to stay out of this particular conflict as Mr. Douglas suggested.

Mr. Bonnifield asks, "Do we have what it takes fight that war?" In terms of our present day leadership the answer is no.


John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

Ok, here is a suggestion. Let the evidence of Assad and his generals use of chemical weapons be taken to the international court. Let them be tried and convicted in absentia. The sentence will be death, by hanging if they can be brought in alive. Then see if the world will support action to remove him, and if his troops defect en mass to the moderate rebel forces. 0


jerry carlton 3 years, 7 months ago

We also do not have the money. This nation is bankrupt! The creditors just have not demanded their money yet.


John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

How about this one. Once a day, or twice a week or so, send a massive smart bomb into whatever hiding hole Assad and his generals are supposed to be in. No where else, keep collateral damage minimal. Keep sending them messages to turn themselves in to face trial, offer them safe conduct out of the country. Maybe even look away if they flee to Russia. That could change things pretty effectively.

From what I read, there is a great deal of dissatisfaction among the Syrian forces. The way things work in a civil war, especially this one with many factions, is changing sides is not unusual. Most would likely go to what would be called the "loyal opposition", those who only wanted a new president not a new social order.


John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

From James Wilson, one of the founding fathers who wrote extensively about natural law.

“Reason serves to illustrate, to prove, to extend, to apply what our moral sense has already suggested to us, concerning just and unjust, proper and improper, right and wrong.”

[Wilson, Bird, The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, L. L. D., vol. 1, Lorenzo Press, Philadelphia, 1804, pg 128]


rhys jones 3 years, 7 months ago

I think we should take all these people who want war with Syria, give them rifles, and send them in first. Make this an all-volunteer war.


mark hartless 3 years, 7 months ago

There is no question but that Syria would be better off without Assad.

Likewise, many nations of the world, African in particular, would be or would have been better of without the murderous warlords who plundered and butchered their way through the populations.

Those and many other nations would have been better off without the disease and starvation which has befallen them.

One would hardly argue those points, but one can not simply argue those points within a vacuum.

When America extends itself past the breaking point (some like I say we have done so already) and collapses the question will be: Is the world better off without America? That answer is absolutely not.

Therefore, it is encumbant upon us first to remain, and to remain strong. The saving of the world must be reduced to a sustainable rate if we are to save ourselves. Perhaps if we learn how to spend our time and resources more wisely there will be ample resources for more of the rest of mankind. Until then we need to remember that age old addage: "Charity begins at home".


mark hartless 3 years, 7 months ago

Ammend : "... the saving AND POLICING of the world..."


Michael Bird 3 years, 7 months ago

There seems to be a total absence of any discussion of having the Arab countries take the lead in solving the Syria problem. We do not need or should we be a lead country. Saudia Arabia, Jordan, etc. have the financial, religious, social, and military might to resolve this war. The Shia/Sunni Arab councils must so lve their problems. We would not tolerate military intervention in our domestic activities. The Arab world is fully capable of handling the Syria problem - probably not to our liking but it is their problem and it is up to them to find their solution.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.