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Editorial: War vote must reflect opinion

When President Obama asked for Congressional approval before taking military action against Syria, we presumed he was asking for approval from the American people. We, the people, are the constituents of U.S. senators and representatives, and therefore their vote on this critical question should reflect the people’s will.

Talk on the street and every national public opinion poll shows a lopsided majority opposes getting dragged into another Middle Eastern conflict—especially going at it alone without support from the U.N., our allies or even the Arab League; especially without knowing the budgetary costs; especially without knowing what a limited military attack would truly achieve, if anything, other than to show that the United States has a vast arsenal of missiles to discharge.

The U.S. has played world policeman since World War II. Over the past 65 years, we seem to be continually bombing or invading one part of the world or another: Korean War, 1950-53; Vietnam War, 1961-75; Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 1983; Operation Just Cause, Panama, 1989; Operation Desert Storm, Iraq, January and February, 1991; Operation Restore Hope, Somalia, 1993; Operations in Yugoslavia and Bosnia, early and late 1990s; Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, 2001-present; and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, 2003-present.

The U.S. has also carried out air attacks over the years, most recently by drones, against Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Panama, Laos and Cambodia.

We are a war-weary nation, in need of rebuilding our economy and of healing. We also need to bring back tens of thousands of troops from our over-stretched military—troops who still patrol hazardous battlefields abroad, troops who still need to heal and return to their families and to productive, safe, healthy civilian lives.

If Congress represents the will of the people, then its members won’t have to agonize while casting their no votes on the Syrian attack question.