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What does limited action mean?

Julianne Malveaux | 9/12/2013, midnight
President Barack Obama stepped on a big limb when he threatened “limited action” against Syria because the country allegedly used ...
Cruise missiles fired from one of four U.S. Navy destroyers deployed in the Mediterranean Sea could be used to strike Syrian "command and control" facilities.

Meanwhile, Congress and the president are on a budget brink. Government could actually shut down at the end of the fiscal year unless unlikely compromises are made. Will President Obama be forced to offer budget concessions in order to get Republican votes to support limited action against Syria? If he does, what implications will that have on the domestic budget, especially in the face of budget austerity? Will the money to cover a Syria strike come from the already-cut food stamps program, from sparsely-funded education programs, from already-embattled healthcare?

President Bill Clinton reportedly supports military action against Syria, and regrets that the United States did not get involved in the massacre in Rwanda that claimed nearly a million lives. With Rwanda, though, a bipartisan group of legislators pushed Clinton to take the case against Rwanda to the United Nations, and he did not.

President Obama has not suggested United Nations cooperation but instead insisted that it is time to take action.

Where is the peace movement? Are they shying off their traditional anti-war stance because President Obama, not President Bush, is in the White House? Once, you could count on groups like Code Pink to lift their voices against military action. Now their silence speaks volumes.

There are alternatives to “limited military action” in Syria; those alternatives have yet to be explored. We shouldn’t involve ourselves in what might be a multi-billion dollar action just so President Obama can sell wolf tickets (or bragging rights) and count on Congress to cash them.

Julianne Malveaux is a D.C.-based economist and author.

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