Don’t repeat Rwanda error

September 9, 2013 

The impending decision to intervene in Syria after 400-plus children were gassed weighs heavily on my mind.

In 1994 the president of the U.S. decided not to intervene in a growing Rwandan human massacre. The decision was not taken to Congress or the American people. President Clinton later apologized in Rwanda for his inaction.

My mind flashes back to a visit my wife and I made to the Holocaust Museum in Washington eight years ago. After walking through room after room of pictures of entire families and villages exterminated by the Nazis I remember thinking “This is an aberration – it could never happen again.”

I then rounded the corner and was shocked to see a sign that said “So you think this could never happen again?” Right after that sign were numerous facts and pictures detailing the Rwandan massacre. That was a life-changing experience for me.

If those 400-plus Syrian children were our children, would this be a hard decision? Because those children lived in another country does that make them less precious than our own children? My moral compass tugs very hard on my heart. I definitely do not want to repeat the Rwandan mistake, even though I, too, am tired of war.

At least this time the president brought the decision to the people.

RICHARD DECKER

Turlock

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