Email #124: “the best interest of our Armed Forces”?

You said of President Obama: “I think if he’s going to take action in Syria, or a broader range of actions, he should seek Congress’ authorization to take those actions.” When President Obama did seek authorization, you opposed military action against Syria, even after its use of chemical weapons. You wrote:

“To be clear, the use of chemical weapons is despicable, and I do not condone this attack on Syrian civilians.  However, after attending a classified briefing and carefully reviewing the classified intelligence made available to Members of Congress, I cannot support the proposed resolution pending in the Senate.  Anytime our country enters into military action, we must consider the men and women of our Armed Forces who stand in harm’s way to serve our nation.  After deliberate consideration of all of the relevant information, including the classified materials presented to Members of Congress to justify the use of force, and after listening to the concerns of my constituents, I do not believe it is in the best interest of our Armed Forces and the United States of America to authorize the President’s proposed use of military force in Syria.”

Last week, after Syria again used chemical weapons, President Trump took action without seeking Congress’ authorization. Given your stance against President Obama taking unauthorized action, even in response to the use of chemical weapons, I assumed you would oppose President Trump’s military strike too.

And yet in the newsletter you sent late Friday, you wrote:

“This week’s deadly chemical attacks are a stark reminder of the atrocities that the Syrian people face under the Assad regime. This evil cannot be ignored or tolerated. The strike launched last night was a measured response to these actions by the Assad regime. The United States needs a well-defined, comprehensive strategy in relation to Syria. I urge the President to engage with Congress on this strategy and fully brief Congress about any possible actions in Syria.”

When Syria uses chemical weapons while a Republican is in the White House, it is “evil” and intolerable.  But when Syria uses chemical weapons while a Democrat is in the White House, it is “despicable” but tolerable. Given this extraordinary contradiction, I see now that your previous opposition to President Obama was not based on “the best interest of our Armed Forces,” but was only political theater. You used the men and women serving in our Armed Forces as props.

Witnessing your indifference to hypocrisy on a moral issue of literal life-and-death significance, I wonder now if you have any guiding principles other than reflexive partisan loyalty. Are you an American? Or are you just a Republican?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

One thought on “Email #124: “the best interest of our Armed Forces”?”

  1. I think, based on the actions taken, Republicans put party before country. Perhaps, like their Russian oligarchs, they believe in on party rule. The death of democracy is the goal


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