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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Locally and globally, the proof is in the process

As we go to press, all eyes are on the U.S. Congress and its debate on whether or not we should attack Syria. The longer the process, the more confused the issues seem to become. And really, that is just as it should be. Too many times we have pulled the trigger in outrage or with too little evidence or without sufficient international support.

Think or act? Deliberate or detonate? I live with this dilemma, so I see it as both personal and global.

I’m into process.

We find a small leak in our roof. I would call several roofers and set up estimates. I would then phone a few friends for recommendations. I would check Angie’s List and Google. My husband noticed the leak while he was outside. A roofing truck was driving by. He stopped the driver and made a deal. The new roof was installed by the end of the week.

Either method can work well.

He says I over-think my decisions. I believe he’s too impulsive. He sees himself as a take-charge kind of guy. I see myself as careful. He thinks I dither. I think I weigh the options. We both have ample proof of being “right.” And neither of us can approach decision-making differently; it’s in our DNA.

Naturally, we’re viewing the Syria debate from very different perspectives. My husband believes the president missed his chance to be strong and decisive. He and many others see Obama as weak and waffling. First the president said we’d attack Syria. Compelling evidence showed that President Assad used sarin gas on his own people. Obama made a good case for striking against the dictator who killed many noncombatants, including children, with poison gas.

Then, the critics say, for reasons that are unclear, the president announced last week that he would take the decision to Congress, asking for its authority to move forward, while preserving the option to act on his own as commander in chief. Millions of Americans think the president is equivocating by going to Congress, that the delay is weakening his position and that Assad is emboldened by the protracted process.

Adding to the troubling mix is the British government’s decision not to join us in a military strike against Syria — a startling break from our history of seamless alliances in the face of our enemies.

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