Dear Mr. Kerry,
Let me begin by stating that I am one of your most ardent opposition on the question of whether the US should commit itself to further military engagement in the Syrian conflict. While I have never been your biggest fan, as we disagree on a number of fundamental issues, I have never consciously disliked you until now. The reason for this is that the method and tactics you have adopted and employed in trying to sell war in Syria to the American people is entirely too similar to the rhetoric we heard out of Bush a decade ago.
Don’t fret, though; I have no intention of trying to skewer what you have said, or your position on this matter. Instead, I’m actually here to help you. You want to know how you can sell this war to the American public? I’ll tell you…
1) Quit the hyperbole/war-mongering rhetoric – we heard almost the exact same shit out of Bush when it came to Iraq, and given what happened there, how could you possibly become irritated when we express doubt or hesitation over the things you’re telling us? From the vantage point of the average American, here we are, soon to become involved in yet another Middle Eastern country with no clear connection to protecting our interests here at home. And it’s mostly being sold to us on the fear that these weapons may fall into the wrong hands, and come back to bite us in the ass. Sound familiar? We can’t wait for the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud? At this point, I hold that bombing Syria, rather than doing nothing, will be worse for us in the long run.
2) Come up with an actual plan instead of selling on this vague “limited strike”-bullshit – After everything we’ve seen with Bush and Obama, talk is cheap. The truth of it is that I don’t trust you, or anyone else in your administration for that matter. Moreover, you keep promising that we won’t have boots on the ground, but the fact of that matter is that you can’t guarantee that. You don’t know whether you can deliver on *any* of your promises. You yourself were against the Vietnam War, and rightly so. Don’t you remember the Gulf of Tonkin resolution? I’m sure the horrors that were inflicted thereafter were intended. Again, don’t try to sell us on vagueries; come up with actual objectives for our military, so a decisive end can be brought to the conflict if we become involved. But we should only become involved if and only if we.
3) GET UN APPROVAL – If we become militarily involved in the conflict in Syria without UN approval, it is, in no uncertain terms, a WAR CRIME. The four conditions for military intervention and force without UN approval are: (1) to defend yourself from actors who are attacking you, or (2) to defend yourself from actors who are about to attack you; (3) to come to the aid of an ally who is being attacked, or (3) to oppose a regime that has violated international norms after having received authorization of force from the UN. Without UN approval, becoming militarily involved in Syria is patently ILLEGAL under international law.
4) Let the UN come up with its own assessment – There are innumerable conflicting reports as to who used chemical weapons, how many people were killed, etc. If you want to show that you’re different from the people you so have criticized on the other side of the aisle, then you need to chill. I know you think it is important that we respond quickly, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that your heart is in the right place, but seriously, chill the fuck out. Let’s first figure out what we’re dealing with here, instead of assuming perfect knowledge. Heed the advice of Colin Powell, who has stated that his mistake about WMDs in Iraq is a blight on his career.
If you want the American people to feel better about this war, help assuage their doubts. You keep telling us that Syria won’t turn into another Iraq. Why don’t you prove it instead?