Congratulations, Tommy Felts, President Obama must have gotten the NSA to report on your editorial last week. Seeing what you had to say, he must have felt forced to honor another of his original campaign pledges: deciding to give our elected representatives the chance to weigh in on the Syria situation ó whether they want it or not. Man, it would have been so much easier to rag on the president if he had gone on ahead without Congress, as expected. Now, it is put up or shut up time for our other elected officials.

You must be quite pleased that John McCain wasnít elected under these circumstances, as McCain has been ragging on the president for doing nothing to help the Syrians. McCain has stated that even a shot across the bow will not be enough and we should be ready to do more. So, it must be a tremendous relief to you to know McCain is not our president.

I know Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush obscured the moral sense of negativity toward using poison gas when our then-good friends in Iraq used them on our not-so-good friends in Iran back in the 1980s. That use resulted in such a tidal wave of international negativity toward Iraq at the time, and donít forget our highly vocal negative response to the Iraqi use of poison gases against Iraqi Kurds. Well, at least the Kurds got a no-fly zone.

I know, too, the Dick Cheney-George W. Bush years added to the confusion when we rallied to go after Iraqís weapons of mass destruction, including their massive stores of poison gas and possible atomic material ó only to find (after Cheneyís Halliburton made a bundle on government contracts and Bush got vengeance for the Iraqi assassination plot against his father) Iraq didnít have anything. Now we donít trust our leaders. Thank you, Dick and George.

Today, as a result of that intelligence failure, we get a double-edged lesson from those massive disclosures of the NSAís enhanced capabilities, provided to us by Edward Snowden, that recently famous/infamous guy now living in Russia. However, we still donít believe anything the NSA or other related government intelligence agencies tell us ó unless it is about the Internal Revenue Service beating up the Tea Party. We have been disappointed by leadership so often and become so much more suspicious because of our previous leadershipís personal agendas and profiteering, we have become jaded toward the whole lot.

Now, should we respond to Syriaís use of poison gas on its own people?

Syria has, indisputably until now, been known to have the largest collection of poison gas in the Middle East. Poison gas, the poor manís atom bomb, is in the hands of a dictator whose family has killed tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of their own people. Do we trust Assad not to use his stockpile at some point on Turkey or Jordan or any of a number of other countries where Syrian rebels are being trained to go back and fight in Syria? Do we trust him, especially after so brazenly using poison gas on his own people, even though like all leaders of that ilk he didnít give the order himself?

A dangerous time lies ahead for us, and many difficult decisions await whoever is in charge in the coming years. Tommy Felts, you got a few scenarios potentially correct, but you didnít go nearly far enough. One must also look at the problems of not doing something to Bashar Hafez al-Assad and Syria. One has to gather all the facts, all the knowledge, all the input from as many sane, viable, thinkers before making any decision.

†††† Obama and Biden, unlike their predecessors, have no known personal vendettas, no personal financial incentives, and contrary to talking headsí opinions, no real political incentive to want to go after Syria. Obama campaigned against this type of involvement and it will clearly divide everybody even more at a time when we should be calmly working our way through this and many other issues. In fact, it is not a politically advantageous request at this time given our human losses, trillion plus dollars spent, and screw-ups in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now that Obama has given you the opportunity to take a long hard look at the issues, instead of being stuck in the politically confrontational mode, any chance you could lead a real discussion about all the issues and not just keep writing about how you donít like the guy?

ó John Holland,