The United States incinerated more civilians in three days at Hiroshima and Nagasaki than have died in four years of civil war in Syria, yet it can take the high moral ground when it comes to the use of weapons of mass destruction?

Before the Tomahawk missiles start flying, a few hard questions need to be answered.

First, sarin gas may have been used, but where’s the proof that Bashar al- Assad’s forces, rather than radical jihadists like the Al-Nusra Front, are guilty? Rebels affiliated with al-Qaida could obtain sarin easily and have an excellent motive: to provoke an American attack on Assad.

Where are the audio recordings? A transcript? Remember George W. Bush’s “evidence” of WMDs in Iraq? Bogus, but at least he had a slide show.

Second, is it really in our national interest to help radical Sunni jihadists topple Assad? What happens to Syria’s Christians, Alawites and Kurds?

Third, will the warmongers in Congress vote for higher taxes to pay for yet another war, or will they use an increased deficit as an excuse to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food assistance?

Fourth, how easily can “limited strikes” turn into a full-scale war? What if Assad retaliates? What if Americans start dying?

Rather than deal with these questions, our “leaders” would rather talk about Israel, Iran and “credibility.” It’s not as though their boots will be on the ground in Syria’s civil war.

America can’t afford another “crusade” against a Muslim/Arab country. The price could easily include another 9/11 … or worse. If France and Saudi Arabia want to attack Syria, they can foot the bill … and accept responsibility for the consequences.

John R. Merrill

Augusta