The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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August 31, 2013

Americans conflicted on Syria

(Continued)

 
"I hope for a time when we wouldn't have to be there," McConkey said. "But given the complex situation, we'll probably always have some kind of presence there. At least within my lifetime."
 
McConkey wasn't the only person who mentioned Obama's "red line" warning.
 
Retired Army veteran Lee Thompson of Atlanta said the president "offered all those references to a 'red line.' To do nothing now makes the United States look weak."
 
Thompson, 71, urged Obama to avoid the ways America got involved in Vietnam and Iraq. "Anything we do must have a defined purpose," he said. "Otherwise there's no 'win' in this war, nothing to say we won and it's time to come home."
 
David Kabel of West Des Moines, Iowa, said Obama's "red line" warning leaves him without a good option. "I bet he wishes he hadn't said that," said Kabel, 65.
 
Even a tightly defined intervention in Syria will be hard to control, he said. But he said he fears Obama will be viewed as weak if he doesn't act.
 
That's troubling, Kabel said, because "we're already overextended. And the country at large is suffering from war fatigue."
 
Dilemmas such as Syria inevitably divide couples.
 
Among them are Joann and Scott Johnson of Baldwin, N.Y., who vacationed this weekend along the Potomac River in suburban Virginia, just outside Washington.
 
Joann, 49, runs a children's day care center. She said the United States "absolutely" must punish Assad.
 
"I just feel like the destruction he's doing to his own people, to me, that's a monster," she said.
 
Her husband disagrees.
 
"Why can't they take care of their own country and own problems?" said Scott Johnson, 51, who works in retail and delivers newspapers in the morning. "Why is it our problem?"

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