Cue the countdown clock: we may attack Syria "as early as Thursday" which also means we may never attack.

It's a terrible choice because the United States can lose no matter which option it picks.

Send in the missiles, and then what? Do we just turn the navy's destroyers around, come home and that's it?

That's not what history says will happen.

And what if we do nothing? Then we'll lose credibility, and we won't be seen as the world's policeman.

Maybe that's not so bad. It's what Americans (democrats and republicans) want. In a poll, only 9 percent supported military intervention in Syria.

Yes, holding our fire would mean a diminished role for the United States in world affairs, but our resources are diminished, too.

When secretary of state John Kerry was running for president in 2004, all the war talk was about Iraq.

"Iraq is now, what it was not before the war: a haven for terrorists," Kerry said in 2004.

I remember Kerry making a point at a campaign stop that we need to be building schools in Brooklyn, not Baghdad. And he's right.

Do you need to hear the statistics again about how many of us are out of work, live in poverty or are homeless?

Remember "shock and awe" in Iraq, the massive show of force that was supposed to quickly lead to peace and democracy there?

Well, that was more than ten years ago, and whatever Iraq is today, it certainly isn't peaceful or democratic.

We can't, and shouldn't, avoid feeling sadness and anger when we see the pictures of an alleged chemical attack in Syria.

But we may be able to avoid another war if we admit our power and influence have limits.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox