My Feelings About Gas

By Lloyd Graff.

I listened to President Obama’s speech on Syria Wednesday. It shook me up, particularly the line about the children who were gassed and “never woke up.”

I woke up at 4:30 am in a cold sweat and I could not go back to sleep. I saw the images of the poor gassed children in their burial white sheaths. And then I remembered my moment under the showers that spewed the Zyklon B gas at the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland.

I was a concentration camp “tourist” at Majdanek, which is inside the Polish city of Lublin. The Germans did not put the killing camps in out of the way places. Dachau, which my son Noah visited a few days ago, is 25 minutes from Munich.

The “showers” at Majdanek were just a few steps from the barracks where people slept before being gassed to death. The ovens – crematoria – were also close by. Efficiency, Nazi style.

One thing I learned in my visit during the winter of early 1999 was that Jews were not the only ones exterminated. The mentally challenged, homosexuals, gypsies, criminals, malcontents and protesting priests were all herded into Hitler’s camps.

We got to Majdanek, a small group from Chicago that I joined while on a business trip to Poland, late one snowy afternoon. I shed my coat, then my sweater and shirt while the others moved into the buildings. I wanted to feel the chill to my bones. It hurt – a little – but it was nothing like the shower room. I just stared at the showerheads, mesmerized by their ordinariness. I felt like puking, but I didn’t. I just stared and imagined. And then I walked away.

When Obama talked about “the children who never woke up” I returned to Poland in my mind. Syria seems a long way from America, but Assad’s atrocity must not go unpunished. People speculate that a few well-placed bombs at Auschwitz might have saved many more lives than they would have cost. A drone strike on Assad’s palace might well be the wakeup call that could end the carnage and force him to give up the gas.

I will never forget Majdanek. The civilized world should never forget the 1,400 gassed to death in Syria.

Question: Should the U.S. punish Assad?

Lloyd Graff is Owner and Chief Space Filler at Today’s Machining World and Graff-Pinkert & Co.

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27 thoughts on “My Feelings About Gas

  1. Jeff

    He should be punished but.
    Why is it always the US that pays the bill with are money and are troops lives.
    Let the UN pay the bill on this one for a change.

    1. Mark

      “With Great Power, comes Great Responsibility”

      We should help, because we are in the best position to do so.
      We can’t turn a blind eye to atrocities that happen beyond our borders. Because if we do, these atrocities will eventually happen within our borders.
      I am a father of four sons, two of which are currently serving our country in the Armed Forces. I don’t want them put in harms way. But we have technologies that will allow us to punish Assad without putting American Lives at significant risk.

      I think the US should have responded quickly, and convincingly. We’ve waited FAR too long for a response. Our President needs to understand that he has the power to respond, and waiting for unilateral support has only made us appear weak and undecided.

  2. Murf

    Our Country has changed, we have allowed the radical left to take control. The very things that had our fathers gladly go to Europe and the South Pacific is now something we don’t want to deal with. It took the planes crashing into the towers to open our eyes, but now we have them closed again. What made you want to puke seeing the showers at Majdanek also sends chills up my spine. However that’s not the feeling with most Americans today. Will it take another attack on our soil to open the eyes of Americans? Do we not realize that when some fight drilling and mining for fuel on our soil means we fund our enemies? I always have and remain ready to fight if that is what it takes to offer the next generations the gift that others sacrificed their lives to offer me. The thought of Hillary being President with the blood of the Americans who were killed in Benghazi makes me sick. What happened to our Golden Country? Wake up America.

    1. Jim

      “The very things that had our fathers gladly go to Europe and the South Pacific is now something we don’t want to deal with.”

      I assume you are talking about World War II? If you are, you need re-read your history books. Roosevelt fought a strong isolationist sentiment within the country. It was only AFTER Pearl Harbor that the majority of Americans “gladly went”. Even then, there wasn’t much desire to strike Germany, but Churchill convinced Roosevelt that winning the European theater must take first priority.
      As proof, consider the timeline: Germany invaded Poland in 1939, but the U.S. did not see combat against Germany until 1942.

    2. Bill

      The radical left in control of the country? Murf the House is contrloled by The GOP they insisted that they get a say, and they voted to not interfere. Just a freindly tip , put the Kool-Aid, down and step back from the ledge.

  3. jd

    what is the difference if you are gassed to death, shot or blown up? we didn’t care to do anything for years while bullets were flying and bombs were dropping. why is that?

    1. Clint McInnes

      My best guess? Because prior to the gassing, there wasn’t a great photo-op with a room full of dead children. Most photo-journalists these days don’t much care for dodging bullets.

  4. Bob

    Our country is being transformed as promised by our campaigner and thief in the white house. America has been weakened by the incompetence at the top. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA, all the government’s lavish spending and all the leaks that come from the white house and/or staff. These events have all happened with zero accountability! The left and the media look the other way! Now we have Syria with a monster leader who deserves to be removed from power and tried for his crimes. He would be found guilty and should receive a beautifully machined bullet from an AR15 armed firing squad. Obama drew a red line. It’s horrific to see the pictures of all the men, women and especially the children lying motionless on the floor. I ask you, what about the other 100,000 men, women and children who have been murdered from bombings or bullets??? If we are “a Global Force for Good”, then we should have cut this evil cancer out two years ago. Now Russia is dictating to us?? America, we’ve been played in Syria. Get used to it as this trend will go on for the next four more years.

  5. Tony

    Leave it alone!! We do not know who did this; it could have been done by any of the different Muslim groups over there. Many innocent people die every day at the hands of the ruthless, Myanmar, Cambodia and many other places. Because these places did not represent a basic necessity to our country (0il) they were left to their own destruction. This isn’t about innocent lives it’s about oil and, money. We do not need to add to our national debt so thousands here may starve. Improve thy self.

  6. Bill

    … millions of precious children are being syringed to death, never seeing the light of day. This atrocity takes place in our own back yard every day since 1973. Assad’s actions pale in comparison to this.

  7. Emily

    My first reaction to the news of the gassing was horror and anger. I wanted President Obama to immediately punish Assad with a strike, and I couldn’t understand how most Americans wanted to leave it alone. Now that Russia and France are involved and we are pursuing diplomatic means, I’m hoping we find a long-term solution that will get rid of these horrible weapons for good. The whole situation makes me sad for humanity. I don’t understand why we do these things. I wish I could glimpse at what goes on in the mind of someone like Assad when he gives the command, “gas them all.”

  8. Mike G

    We have been playing the worlds police man for far to long. This is all driven by the war machine that drives our elected officials to office.

    We did the right thing in with Germany no doubt. Japan was arguably preventable and President Roosevelt should be noted for his role in that.
    Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf War, Bosnia/ Serbia ( yes President Clinton was part of bombing there) Afghanistan, Iraq were and are exercises in our military brawn.
    I do not doubt that the leaders in the terrorist regimes in each of the above mentioned countries are or were the worst of the worst right up there with Hitler & Stalin. However what is the cost. Do we continue to bankrupt ourselves to protect the world?

    When President Reagan Bombed Libya’s Kadaffis palace in the early 80’s Mr. Omar Kadaffi quieted down for a long time. This was done with some very old at the time military airplanes.

    When we felt it necessary to get General Noriega in Panama we circled Panama and opened fire till Panama handed him over. ( I personally question the need to get him but, I will not pretend to know it all)

    Perhaps a surgical strike and we should be able to send a missile of any sort on the key palaces and military installations. ( By now we should be able to send a missile up the south end of a north bound camel by now. ) The military strike would be from the air only. This would send a clear message that the world would not be screwed with nor the innocent citizens of Syria. Christian & Peaceful Muslum be harmed.
    We should know when and where to strike. If I can see my car in my drive way on Google Earth our Military can clearly see what ever we need to in Syria. Plus the intel from the ground. No excuses we should be able to execute with surgical precision.

    The real moral questions is do we?
    Do we kill to stop some one from killing?
    Will our killing only promote more killing?

    Even if we were to line up all the terrorists today and kill them all another will be born tomorrow to take their place.
    When does it stop?

  9. Natasha Haas-Williams

    Of course America has a responsibility to protect those whom cannot protect themselves. This is especially so for children being gassed to death. We see tragedy of different kinds throughout the world. I’ve found myself much more susceptible to the innocent…. especially children.
    Will we be joined? Probably not. Most people stay out of others’ business however it’s wrong. If you borewitness to such suffering and just bone chilling sadness in your own home, your neighborhood, your city county state or country every single person would be demanding for retribution.

  10. john safar

    Punish the rebels they stole the gas not one rebel was gased but the army solders were
    Talk pease not more war

  11. Mike M.

    War is hell. People get killed. We must keep in mind that this is a CIVIL war. It was started by some Syrians attacking their current government.
    The Geneva conventions against the use of gas applies to international wars; it does not apply to civil wars. Moreover, Syria is not a signatory to the Geneva conventions or protocols.
    While a “surgical strike” has appeal, we cannot guarantee we won’t be killing civilians ourselves. We cannot guarantee our bombs won’t cause the release of more gas. There is a also a real possibility that we could start WW3

  12. John Safar

    Punish the rebels they stole the gas and not one rebel was gased but army solders were.
    Talk pease not war

  13. Joseph Bond

    German intelligence has published significant evidence that indicates that it may very well have been the rebels who used gas. The most significant element (most effective) of the rebellion is Al-Quaeda, which has done this sort of thing before.
    The reason why conservatives (myself included) are against intervention is for several reasons:
    1.The strikes talked about by the Obama are not intended to effect regime change, or to significantly affect the ongoing war. Another way of reading that is to say that we are upset so we’re going to kill someone Syrian President Assad doesn’t know.
    2. Does anyone actually understand what faction represents the best outcome for us in Syria? President Obama essentially backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (now very clearly a huge mistake), and actually continues to do so. Our best hope for an Egypt that is not a hotbed of Al-Quaeda and linked Caliphate groups is the the Egyptian Military, which is constantly being criticized by Obama. By the way, Obama failed to give any support to the protesters in the streets of Iran, which is the other huge source of conflict and terrorism in the Middle East. Also, would you rather have had Khadaffi in Libya or the Al-Quaeda dominated mess that killed our Ambassador? This administration has a history of picking the wrong faction to back in Middle East. At least, the wrong faction if you embrace freedom and democracy.

  14. ken

    NO, because we have no real true idea who did this gassing or if the gassing actually was done.
    How do you or anyone else know this wasn’t a “Hollywood” effect to try and move the ball down the field so that Obama would bomb the crap out of the civilians who are fighting for real change?
    We don’t know.

    We were goated into Iraq by Bush and now Obama wants to do the same thing.

    Just how many innocent children do you think will be killed by Obama’s bombs vs. the gassing if it really did occur.

    We cannot trust anyone in that region nor should we.

    Intelligence is not that intelligent or it is in fact intentionally misleading to effect an outcome they wish.

    Congress should vote no and the president should set down and take a chill pill.

    Putin came out looking like the real smart guy in all of this.

    The U.N. wants to be stronger and have it’s own military. That would be a horrific thing to allow these “peace keepers” to become a true military given all the raping and plundering these bastards have done in recent times.
    No to the U.N. no to war in the middle east and no to putting children at risk with Obama bombs.
    NO NO NO

  15. Big Al

    Wow, Lloyd. You really hit everyone’s hot button! And here I originally thought you were going to talk about automobile gas.

  16. ms

    Sitting back and doing nothing emboldens all our adversaries in the Middle East. If we don’t respond, Assad will up the ante, Hezbollah will try to get their hands on chemical weapons to fire into Israel and Iran will continue forward in their nuclear ambitions.

    A diplomatic solution to get rid of chemical weapons would be best, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Short of the diplomatic solution, we probably need to send a message to the bad guys and take out Syria’s air force and level the killing fields.

    If all else fails, ….it’s Obama’s fault! (Or Hillary’s in 2016!)

    If only Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten those bad apples (or was it Adam and Steve?)

  17. John

    There’s a big difference between Hitler and most of the nut-cases in the Middle East. Hitler was exterminating people who were peacefully part of german society. Assad, for however terrible he may be, is killing people who would otherwise kill him. It is a civil war that we need to stay out of…

    And why are we so hung up on chemical weapons? Its reported that over 100,000 thousand have been killed, but only now we are concerned because they used chemicals? It’s like Obama is giving Assad a yellow card because he doesn’t approve of the method used to kill in that last attack. Its seems, however, that we’ve turned to instant replay: the evidence regarding who cheated is still unclear.

    No where in our constitution does it say we are the world’s police. Just because we were dragged/manipulated into previous “global issues” is not a justification for doing so again. Learning from your mistakes is a sign of intelligence. Either we are outraged by the actions or we are not. To take a half-assed positioned was covered by Dante: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

  18. Jeff Scott

    Should the US punish Assad? NO….if and when someone can say for certain who used the gas then the UN and it’s member states can punish Assad or the Islamic fanatics who make up MOST of the opposition to Assad because both sides are guilty of using gas.
    While Assad is brutal dictator I would rather he be in power than have another fanatic Sharia Law driven Islamic dictatorship on Israel’s boarder who would be another “safe haven” for terrorist training camps and used for launching attacks against the western infidel (non-muslim) countries!

  19. Dick Crosby

    When good people see bad things happen, and do nothing to stop it, then the bad guys take over, and the good guys will wonder why they didn’t do something about it when they had the chance. History repeats. Over and over again. Ad infinitum!
    This dreadful discredited group presently in charge of this country, along with the entire bunch of previous gutless, give-away wimps, has most certainly got us on the road to a future we and our progeny won’t like, and most of them won’t understand how we got there, given the sad state of public education doled out by the liberal school system.
    I guess God just made us this way. Somehow we (the human race), never learns.

  20. Dave Bradley

    Our military, American military, dumped some sort of nerve chemicals over Fort Wayne Indiana back in the late 50’s or early 60″s. It wasn’t until recently that they admitted to the crime. They maintained it was a low dose. I keep wondering how to connect the medical statistical mysteries to this deed. However, no international countries showed up to bomb the US for doing that. Our government is no saint. Our government would do well to tend to it’s own problems…they have no business casting stones.

  21. Ray Frattone

    I would not normally be against using military force against an immoral aggressor, but in this case we would be helping an equally immoral group who is being aided by
    al quada who is trying to kill us.

  22. Jim Goerges

    It’s really interesting to see the left pound the table for war! It is equally strange to see the right say it’s wrong! My brother in law, lefter then Lloyd, had a sign on a pole during the Bush administration, “NO WAR”, off of HWY 169 in Minneapolis for many years. I argued at length and even proved to him the BUSH CONFLICTS/WARS were condoned by congress, left and right like it or not. He also likes to tell me how the left ones changed there mind after the vote, hmmm. Anyways, that has been his rightous calling card. So I asked him if he had put up his sign again and interestingly enough he said no! So, I am curious Lloyd and sons, is war only OK if your president of choice is in office? Another interesting tidbit, the views of several religious figures, catholics, protestants and jews, don’t want the war and don’t believe it is justified for the US to be involved. While they truly believe there have been crimes committed, they are not for war intervention.

    Syria is political and it seems very strange how Kerry and troup have worked a deal with the Russian’s that really doesn’t have any compelling reason for Syria to change its evil ways. Do you think the comments that OBAMA made to the top Russian official caught on national TV before the election have anything to do with an outcome that doesn’t have any substance?

    What is wrong with OBAMA’s handling of this mess is this commander in chief wants to make decisions by committee and to me that proves without a doubt he isn’t a commander in chief material, HE ISN’T a LEADER. He needs an out and will blame everyone else for either not going to war, or if there is a war, he will fall back on the group’s decision for the reason things didn’t work out. WAR is hell, and the only way it can work for good is if leadership is good and the cause if just and the actions are defined and followed and the outcome is known, you must gain congressional support and there MUST BE AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE. Our commander in chief has done very little of the above.

    In addition, this is a bad situation where you have multiple factions of radical muslims being in and controlling parts of the Syrian government and having that government in turmoil willing to do any deal with anyone to stay in power. At least one thing hasn’t changed and has remained constaint, the UN has done nothing and will do nothing and only will say negative things to countries that may intervene and yet at the same time will condemn them for not taking action.

    It appears to me that so many things are wrong our government, our president is happy to leave serious problems by creating new problems. Wanna bet?


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