Because this issue is big enough, and far enough beyond partisanship, that Senators Carper and Coons, as well as Congressman Carney, need direction from us.
And if they don't follow those directions, there need to be consequences.
First, here is the most sane thing I have read on the subject, by my friend Jess McVay (and you could have voted for him for Governor last year on the Libertarian ticket):
I'm not in a position to know all the facts about Syria. Neither are you. None of the players can be trusted, including (especially?) the US government. So what do you do? Read as much as you can. Read all sides. Learn from all of it. Trust none of it. Then make up your own mind. No one's claims deserve the benefit of the doubt. No one deserves the expectation that we defer to their experience or their more seasoned judgement.It is particularly important to stay grounded in that understanding of just how little we can trust our own government. We know from painful experience (remember Colin Powell at the UN) about those WMDs in Iraq. We recall (some of us) how the US not only stood idly by but appears to have clandestinely supported Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. And we know that the current administration has joined the pattern of lying its ass off regarding damn near anything to do with foreign policy or intelligence.
But let's assume they are telling the truth. Let's assume that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in a desperate attempt to win its civil war.
Somebody's got to say it, and it might as well be me.
It's not the specific morality of a horrible weapon that's at issue. As the only nation to use atomic weapons, as the nation that used napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, as the nation that still refuses to abide by international sanctions against cluster bombs, as the nation that employed fuel-air explosives against Iraq in 1991, and as the nation that continues the indiscriminate drone killings of innocent men, women, and children in the hopes that an Al Qaeda target might be standing next to them in Pakistan, Yemen, and across Africa, we've precious little room to talk about the morality of weapons.
Besides, why are 1,000 dead people from chemical weapons somehow more significant than the 100,000 Assad has already killed in just this war? Now, suddenly, for the US it is not good enough to be murdered, you have to be murdered by precisely the right weapon for it to matter?
Reality check: the Middle East has already entered the conflagration stage. There is no "Arab Spring." There is a steady descent back into chaos.
Nor can a utilitarian argument be made for war in Syria.
If we help defeat Assad we can hope for no gratitude (nor any regional stability) from the installation of another Islamist regime in Damascus.
It is past time to instruct (yes, "instruct"--they work for us) Carper, Coons, and Carney not to vote their consciences, but to vote ours.
A vote for war in Syria is to spend the blood of Americans for no great cause, for no great gain, and for a guarantee that more flag-draped coffins will arrive at Dover Air Force Base, about which distraught moms, dads, husbands, wives, and children will sob and ask, "Tell me again, why was this death necessary?"