Tipton: No reason to attack Syria

Delta crowd applauds congressman's opposition to force

Rep. Scott Tipton

DELTA — Most of the 120 people shoehorned into a Delta County courtroom burst into applause when U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., declared his opposition to military action in faraway Syria.

Tipton, noting that Secretary of State John Kerry had earlier that day said Saudi Arabia would foot the bill for action in Syria, said he saw no American interest at stake in the civil war there.

“Even Saudi Arabia does not have enough money to equal the value of one American life,” Tipton said.

Many in the audience, which included several farmers and ranchers, were at least as interested in the fate of changes to the nation’s immigration system.

“It’s imperative that we get it done,” farmer John Harold of Tuxedo Farms, the supplier of Olathe sweet corn, said of immigration reform.

The price of taking no action would be “the agricultural industry as we know it today,” Harold said, urging Tipton to press for the House to take up an immigration package already passed by the Senate.

While Tipton urged the crowd to contact Colorado’s two senators, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Democrats, to take up a variety of House-passed measures, the House should also take up the Senate bill, Harold said.

The House is drafting its own measures on immigration, Tipton said, calling for a legislative process that would involve a conference committee to draft a compromise measure that would go to both bodies.

A starting point for handling a guest-worker program could involve a system in which the United States would work with foreign governments to supply its need for those employees, Tipton said.

Jose Abeyta urged Tipton to concentrate on border security in the north and south, noting that the first terror threats after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, came from Canada and that Mexico is a main supplier of illegal drugs.

“We have to secure the borders,” Abeyta said.

Dealing with immigration reform must not only take into account the status of an estimated 11 million immigrants who are not legally in the United States, but the 4.4 million people who are awaiting legal entry, Tipton said.

Some action, however, is needed, he said, or, “In 15 years we’ll be right back where we were.”

Urged by several audience members to vote to defund the Affordable Care Act, Tipton said he wanted to replace it and said he supports legislation known as the Empowering Patients First Act, which is intended to provide coverage with a series of tax credits, deductions and incentives for obtaining coverage and deductions.

Tipton is to address Club 20, the West Slope advocacy organization, on Saturday at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction.


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Today’s Daily Sentinel editorial (“Congress should say ‘No’ to intervention in Syria”) may be both popular and correct – but for all the wrong reasons.

First, reliance on the “Weinberger Doctrine” is inherently suspect.  While Secretary of Defense, Weinberger oversaw the transfer to Iraq of the materials from which Saddam manufactured the illegal chemical weapons used in the Iran-Iraq War and against the Kurds.  Weinberger also supervised the illegal transfer of weapons to Iran, was later indicted for perjury in the Iran-Contra affair, but was then pardoned by “Papa” Bush.

Second, precisely because our “vital national security interests must be involved”, the Sentinel’s references to Rwanda and Korea are asinine.  “We didn’t invade Rwanda” to stop genocide because doing so was militarily infeasible.  We did “invade” North Korea, but – due to McArthur’s military incompetence—were repelled by the Red Chinese. 

More apropos is NATO’s/President Clinton’s air campaign against Serbia after the Bosnian/Kosovo genocides in 1995, which was initiated with only Senate approval, before the House registered a tie vote a month later, and was indisputably successful.

Third, because a retaliatory “act of war” is not the same as “war”, the nebulous concept of “winning” is irrelevant.  However, because a Congressional authorization for the use of force suspends the legal prohibition against assassinating enemy leaders, our cruise missile targets could include Assad and his cronies (“command and control elements”).

Fourth, enforcing international norms prohibiting the use of chemical weapons is a “clear definition of the military and political objectives”, but – revealingly – the “Weinberger Doctrine” makes no reference to America’s leadership role in the broader international community, because his ilk routinely disparages the U.N. as a surrender of sovereignty.

Obviously, some Americans – including our own “Tea Party” hypocrite Scott Tipton—are “against it” because President Obama is “for it”, even though President McCain and/or Romney would likely have already “done it”.

The current debate over Syria is reminiscent of the toxic partisan political environment preceding World War II, when U.S. popular opinion was overwhelmingly isolationist and FDR risked impeachment by surreptitiously arming Britain to resist Hitler.

Democratic President Woodrow Wilson conditioned U.S. involvement in World War I on allied acceptance of “Fourteen Points” – which included creating a League of Nations.

However, isolationist demagogues in the U.S. fostered the notion that we’d been drawn into WWI by duplicitous Europeans, and must never be so gullible again.  Consequently, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected America’s membership in the League.

Wilson promoted “national self-determination” for ethnic populations inhabiting defined territories.  While the allies applied that principle in dismembering the Austro-Hungarian Empire and (arguably) in the Balfour Declaration (creating a Zionist homeland), Britain and France (eager to expand their colonial empires) violated it elsewhere – particularly in dismembering the Ottoman Empire.

Republican sabotage of America’s role in the League of Nations – and abandonment of the universal principle of “self determination”—contributed to subsequent world events, including German revanchism, Italian and Japanese expansionism, World War II, Viet Nam, the Bosnian/Kosovo intervention, the Iraq War, and now the civil war in Syria.

Barack Obama is President of the United States today because he early-on opposed the Iraq War, while then-Senators Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden voted for it.

President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 because he expressed commitment to principles of international law and respect for the world community – thus impliedly rejecting both the paranoid isolationism and the lawless jingoism of his predecessors.

Thus, Syria is setting the stage for a 2016 presidential campaign in which Hillary Clinton and/or Joe Biden – both more “hawkish” than President Obama – will debate America’s role in the world with neo-isolationist Rand Paul and/or Hitler-like opportunist Ted Cruz.

As Gary Harmon chronicled in Friday’s Sentinel – “Tipton:  No reason to attack Syria” –  “Tea Party” Congressman Scott Tipton’s demagogic pandering to under-informed locals continues unabated.

If Tipton honestly sees “no reason to attack Syria”, then he remains willfully ignorant of the historically-proven imperative to enforce international norms – lest failure to do so encourage “bad actors” to escalate such behavior.

While it may be premature to “attack Syria” before U.N. inspectors finalize their report, and/or before Congress authorizes the use of force, and/or before the U.N., NATO, or the Arab League conveys legitimacy under international law, Tipton’s applause-line reflects the strong likelihood that he (and his “town hall” lemmings) are “against it” because President Obama is “for it” – when would-be Presidents McCain and/or Romney (whom Tipton and his ilk undoubtedly supported) would have already “done it” – and more.

While Tipton rhetorically assigned an inestimably high value to “one American life”, he is not so generous when supporting Republican war-mongers or “tort reform” that would cap jury awards to grieving Americans when medical malpractice kills their loved ones.

Tipton also opposes any “pathway to citizenship” for some 11 million undocumented – even if loyal and productive – immigrants, even though the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill (S.799) would reduce the federal deficit by $1+ trillion over the next 20 years and assure reliable labor to Olathe’s farmers and Palisade’s orchardists.

Rather, Tipton endorsed the “red card” scam – proffered by the Koch brothers’ American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”)(which also authored “stand your ground” and voter suppression laws) – cynically intended to shield scofflaw employers from criminal and/or civil liability for illegally hiring and exploiting undocumented workers.

Tipton also supports the Orwellian-titled “Empowering Patients First Act” – which would increase federal subsidies to health insurers, permit discrimination based on “pre-existing conditions”, and cost $100 billion more than “ObamaCare”!

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