Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: America can’t save everyone |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: America can’t save everyone

Richard Carnes
Vail, CO, Colorado

“The time has come for a new policy,” declared John McCain last week.

The senator was referring to a demand for U.S.-led airstrikes against Syria to “create safe havens in the country for opposition forces to plan their own political and military attacks against Assad.”

Evidently, McCain has never met a war he did not like.

Just in the past few years, the man wanted to keep bombing Iraq, start bombing Iran, bomb and put boots on the ground in Libya and now bomb Syria.

If he had won back in 2008, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess we would still be in Iraq with at least 50,000 troops, Afghanistan would be our second major front, Libya third, and the American war machine would be gearing up for our own Arab Spring (surprise!) on Iran.

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Each of these wars America cannot afford to pay for, either financially or in the form of murdered American soldiers.

And saying we need a “new policy”? Really?

It certainly seems to me like the same ol’ policy of starting another war, going deeper into debt and then finding some way to politicize it and lay blame on those who think otherwise.

McCain says (with a straight face, no less) that the benefit of the U.S. leading the military effort is that it would allow us to “better empower Syrian groups that support U.S. interests to move toward a democratic transition.”

This same ol’ song and dance crap is getting a little old.

What I am really tired of is this thinking (or lack thereof) that the United States is the ultimate arbiter of every global problem.

Every time someone gets into a fight outside of our borders, it is not a national security threat, and believe me, there are more than enough instances of human cruelty to go around.

Everyone has heard of the ongoing atrocities in Uganda, especially the “Kony 2012” rallies now being held worldwide.

Does this mean we should we send troops to Uganda?

How about last week when it was announced that at least 90 Iraqi teenagers with “emo” appearances have been stoned to death by religious extremists after Iraq’s moral police released a chilling statement condemning the “emo phenomenon” among Iraqi youth, disturbingly declaring its intent to “eliminate” the trend, dubbing it “devil worship.”

Should we now send our troops back to Iraq?

How about the modern-day slavery in most Muslim countries in which women and young girls are considered property?

These are just three quick examples, and there are literally thousands of others, but we simply cannot do it all.

Yes, every human being has the right to be free, but those rights have costs, and each instance must be weighed before action is, or is not, taken. That’s not a moral stance but one of rationality.

What is obvious, though, is the transparent politicizing of particular instances in order to make one category of Americans look weak and another appear strong, all to win coveted seats during an election season.

How unbelievably sad, and just how gullibly stupid have we become?

Like it or not (and I am certainly no fan of its ineptitude), the United Nations exists for a reason. First and foremost, that is to end the scourge of war and promote human rights on a global scale.

While certainly not known for being too good at either, when it begins dealing with an issue, it’s not our job to finish.

At the risk of sounding selfish, we have enough problems of our own.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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