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Michael A. Ross, Hawley, Minn., Published August 28 2013

Letter: US again embarking on losing intervention in the Middle East?

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Pentagon have been feverishly drawing up war plans for a cruise missile attack on Syria. At least four U.S. destroyers capable of launching these weapons are in position or en route to the Mediterranean. Reportedly, the Syrian government has crossed President Barack Obama’s “red line” by using chemical weapons against rebel forces in that country’s civil war, with hundreds of civilian bystanders as casualties.

It has been conveniently forgotten that earlier this year an apparent chemical attack was blamed on the Assad government, but U.N. observers, doctors and refugees fleeing the country insisted that it was the U.S.-backed rebels who used these internationally outlawed weapons. From whom do you suppose they were obtained? Where did Saddam Hussein get the chemical weapons he used against the Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war and his own dissident Kurds? Hmmmm?

Hagel is a decorated Vietnam veteran and was an anti-war Republican senator from Nebraska, and ran as such in the 2008 presidential primary. He and fellow Vietnam vets such as John McCain and Colin Powell know firsthand the horror of war. They should be the first to voice opposition to another mindless intervention in a civil war that does not concern us. Unfortunately and tragically, they, like so many politicians and military brass, put career ahead of principle.

As for our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president, don’t expect a declaration of war from Congress. One hasn’t been issued since 1941. How about a consultation with our elected representatives? He didn’t bother before flattening Libya. He likely hasn’t noticed, nor does he care, that only 9 percent of Americans support intervention in Syria. He may, however, want to consider that Iran is closely allied with Syria and both are backed by Russia and China.

An attack on Syria may close the Straits of Hormuz, through which 25 percent of the world’s oil flows to market. Eight-dollar gas, anyone? Russia and China are heavily invested in Iran’s oil, gas and nuclear industries and have indicated that they would not stand by if Syria or Iran were attacked.

What are the possibilities in such a conflict? The U.S. and its ever-hawkish ally, Israel, versus Russia and China. Four nuclear powers facing off. Armageddon, anyone?