The Edmond Sun

September 7, 2013

Syria not really our fight

Nick Massey
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — In 2007, Sen. Joe Biden said, “The president has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war against a nation of 70 million people unless we are attacked or unless there’s proof that we’re about to be attacked. And if he does, I would move to impeach him.”

Hmmm. Funny how things change. As Congress considers what, if any, action to take against Syria for their alleged use of chemical weapons, I am reminded of a coon hunting story told long ago by the late country comedian Jerry Clower.

The short version was Jerry and his buddy went on a night coon hunt with a neighbor, Mr. Barron, and his hired hand, John Eubanks. John was known for his ability to climb trees. He also believed in giving the coons a sporting chance. So, when a pack of hounds treed a coon, John didn’t believe in shooting it out of the tree. Instead, he’d climb the tree and poke the coon with a sharp stick and knock him down among the dogs. The coon at least had the option of whipping all the dogs and getting away.

One dark night, things were going according to plan until John, high up in a huge tree, poked the treed coon with his sharp stick. Unfortunately, the coon turned out to be a lynx, a type of wildcat. And this one was in a real bad mood. Instead of falling, the lynx stood his ground and started making minced meat out of poor old John.

John yelled down to Mr. Barron, who had a pistol, “Shoot this thang, shoot this thang — it’s killing me!” Mr. Barron yelled back, “I can’t shoot it, I might hit you.”

Finally, in desperation, John yelled down, “Well, just shoot up in here amongst us. One of us got to have some relief.”

I thought of this tall tale while considering the news about Syria. It appears to me that we may be about to shoot in amongst the warring Syrians with a similar result. Only this one may not result in much relief for anyone. Meanwhile, the Syrians are stocking up on canned foods and shouting, “The Americans are coming!” In no way does this situation end well for any party involved.

I hope that Congress will show some leadership and recognize this is not our fight. Besides, neither side in this civil war seems to be much better than the other. As the old saying goes, “be careful what you wish for.”

Speaking as a concerned citizen, a taxpayer and an Army veteran, I have grown tired of putting our country and our military at risk, spending money that we don’t have, with no clear objective, for somewhere that is not economically or strategically important to us, to support people that don’t really like us much anyway. In the end, we will get the blame no matter what we do but the unknown unintended consequences could be even worse. This is one of those times we need to stay out of it.

NICK MASSEY is an Edmond city councilman and a regular Edmond Sun columnist.