Humanitarian Aid to Syrians, Not Bombs

I am opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria on practical and moral grounds. Unlike my opponent, I do not have to check with my donors in the military industrial complex before I take a principled stand. I would vote No when the House considers the President’s request to bomb Syria.

Once again the propaganda machine is in full swing telling us how important it is for the U.S. and its allies to bomb a Middle Eastern country. Once again my opponent Mike Quigley is wiggling around trying to decide which way the wind is blowing before he commits his vote.

Will he go with common sense, international law, and the will of the people to not escalate U.S. involvement in Syria? USA Today reports that according to two new polls a clear majority of Americans do not want an overt military strike against the Assad regime, even if it has used chemical weapons. The ABC News/Washington Post poll shows nearly 6 in 10 oppose a strike and the Pew Research Center finds that 48% of adults are against military strikes while 29% say they are in favor. 

Or will Quigley scent the direction his president wants to pull us -- into another illegal, immoral, quagmire like Iraq and Afghanistan, and follow faithfully? Will he vote for another war of choice that wastes our young soldiers’ lives, kills millions of innocent people, and draws tax funds away from the many investments in people and infrastructure sorely-needed here? We’ll have to keep guessing, because as usual we’ll know his position after he has voted.

In an interview on WBEZ on Sept. 3 Quigley repeated the party line on attacking Syria; saying the government is “nearly certain” that there was an attack and “nearly certain” that Assad did it, “punishment” for the use of chemical weapons is important, it is important to “degrade” the Assad regime and “upgrade” the opposition, but we have to be careful about who we arm. He topped off his recitation by saying he wants to “leave his options open”. He said he had been leaning to a No vote but now he’s not committing.

We’ve been down the road of ginned-up support for wars of choice far too often. The outright lies used to sell us on attacking Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya make us extremely wary of any statements coming out of Washington claiming unusually dastardly acts by the prospective target of U.S. military action. Chemical weapons are bad, agreed. Are they worse than the U.S. use of the atom bomb, Agent Orange, white phosphorus, napalm, cluster bombs, and depleted uranium, all of which have maimed and killed millions? The U.S. does not have the moral standing to claim authority to punish others for the use of certain weapons. Bombing Syria will result in untold civilian casualties.  This is not different from civilians dying by the use of chemical weapons.  

There are no opposition good guys to “upgrade” in Syria. The opponents of the Syrian regime are extremist Islamists. The Assad regime oppresses the people, but it would not be a secular, democratic government that replaces it. The rebellion started out as a secular opposition to the regime, but now according to the New York Times there are no secular rebel forces but only extremist Islamists. We've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan the results of arming and supporting extremists simply because they are against a regime the U.S. wants to see toppled. It does not go well when they turn the weapons the U.S. supplied on their own populations to enforce Islamist ideology. Trading one oppressive regime for another would not be an “upgrade” for the Syrian people.

The motive for undermining the Assad regime is to benefit fossil fuel interests and the military industrial complex. That has been the motive for keeping us in a state of war for thirty years. We should not bomb Syria. Instead, we should supply humanitarian aid to the thousands of people displaced in the conflict. We should do everything possible to influence Qatar, which has been arming the Islamist extremists, to stop. Not selling Qatar weapons, as Quigley contributor Boeing has been doing, would be a good place to start. Along with the Green Party Shadow Cabinet I assert that the most effective deterrent against the use of chemical weapons is not the mass bombing of Syria, an action that would be illegal under international law and counterproductive, but to use the international legal system that has been built since World War I and take legal action under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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commented 2013-09-07 22:48:54 -0500 · Flag
This is my position also.
Wade In Congress posted about Humanitarian Aid to Syrians, Not Bombs on Wade In Congress' Facebook page 2013-09-05 20:12:48 -0500
Humanitarian Aid to Syrians, Not Bombs I am opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria on practical and moral grounds. Unlike my opponent, I do not have to check with my donors in the military industrial complex before I take a principled stand. I would vote No when the House considers the President’s request to bomb Syria.