There was a time when war was good for the American economy. Chrysler was in the tank business, for heaven's sake, and made the Jeeps that had a military purpose long before they became recreational vehicles or fancified SUVs. War put people to work, and not just in the various military branches. With so many men off to the battlefields, women were working in various capacities long before the women's equal rights movement took hold. Older folks remember the Rosie the Riveter posters.
So, we might as well go ahead and send troops to Syria, right? That the situation in Syria in which - surprise! - Bashar al-Assad is killing his own people with chemical weapons in no way compares with what pulled the U.S. into World War II doesn't really matter. The sonuvagun keeps crossing that imaginary line President Obama keeps drawing in the sand, so it's time Obama stops flexing his muscles and does something. There's oil over that way, you know. Which, by the way, makes Assad's killing of his own people much more relevant to U.S. interests than, say, similar killings taking place in Sudan.
Chemical weapons are a big no-no. Same with all those WMDs Saddam Hussein had, right? You know, the ones that some people claim actually were in Iraq until word got out ole Dubya was going after Hussein and his WMDs, thus prompting a convoy of vehicles trekking from Iraq to Syria. If that's true, the convoy was probably not a shipment of Saddam Hussein Chia Pets. All that, of course, gives rise to the question of why President Bush gets a 15-yard penalty but the referees throw no penalty flag on this potential play by Obama.
But really, do we need to go into Syria? Are we the supervisors of every worldwide playing field? Or, at least, do we really need to try to be? And if we are, then why do we pick and choose which fields we are willing to play on and which we are not? Again, after all, we could kick some serious rearend in Sudan and be a real game changer there.
Back to that whole "war is good for the economy" premise. Chrysler doesn't make tanks anymore, we can buy arms and even uniforms from other countries (because, you know, we like to ship overseas a lot of jobs that formerly reined on American soil). Plus, we are heading into football season. What's that have to do with it all?
Simple. No matter how pesky distractions such as Syria can be, no matter how bad things are all around us, we are Americans. And Americans love their sports, especially football, meaning we'll stimulate the economy just fine as we finance NFL teams and buy all the products advertised on TV during the games.
Besides, we don't need automakers to manufacture tanks and such, which would put more people to work, when all it takes is a bailout from Washington to salvage automakers in a sagging economy. And one other thing, even if Chrysler got back in the tank business, Rosie the Riveter wouldn't have a job. She's long been replaced by robots.
Hawks are ready to take flight and kick some Assad. Label me a liberal if you want, but I'm more inclined to stay on the concourse.
Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-2522; email email@example.com ,or follow him on Twitter at IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.