9-11 recalled as U.S. grapples with Syria

Right now, in the midst of remembrances concerning the lethal mass murder that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, the nation’s House members and senators are deciding whether this nation should unleash its military force in response to a far different – and distant – slaughter of innocents.

The attack on Syrian civilians with chemical weapons is no less despicable than the use of airplanes as high powered bombs that ripped into the Pentagon and reduced the World Trade Center to ashes, though also no more so.

It is impossible for us to decide what is right or wrong in terms of U.S. involvement in Syria without taking a moment to remember our own dead and wounded on that horrible day in our own way, thinking of the similarities between them and the victims in Syria. In both case the victims were people just going about their daily business. In the case of both crimes many people still grieve.

Many also grieved here after, not because of direct effects from the 9-11 attacks but because of the choices our nation made, ostensibly as a result. Years of military losses in far-off lands that continue. The blood flow is still not stemmed.

While those thoughts can fuel strong arguments for U.S. aggression against the Syrian regime, there are other thoughts that arise from 9-11 remembrance. If we attack Syria, then what wrath from extremists might we bring down on ourselves? Do we move closer to another 9-11 debacle and the loss of more U.S. lives, or far away?

The conflict is one where either alternative – attack or do nothing – evokes the potential that we may well have cause for regret.

Ultimately Congress will express to the president the will of the people, as is proper in our republic, coupled with the wisdom and knowledge that members of both houses might have because of information shared by the Executive Branch.

We don’t pretend to know which course should be taken. But we hope our representatives, each and every one of them, thinks of the 9-11 tragedy when making final decisions. Their decision must be one they can defend not just now, but ten years from now.

We wish them well and beg them to use their best powers of thought as they move forward with the decision they will make in our name. And we pray that whatever way they turn the course ends up being the one that will cause the least amount of pain and bloodshed both for the people of Syria and ourselves.