Concerning Syria

A few days ago, I jotted off a quick note to my Representative about my opposition to a military attack on Syria. However, today, when I took the time to write to my Senators, I spent a bit more time crafting it. I’ve spent the past week listening to NPR and reviewing opinions that have been rushing by me on social media channels. This was the best summary of my current feelings that I could come up with in 15 minutes without editing.

Dear Senator …

I write to urge you to oppose the President’s plan for military strike against Syria. Although I find the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people to be a tragic and despicable crime against humanity, I do not believe that military action on our part at this time or in this way is in the best interest of the US or the Syrian people.

Firstly, I do not have complete confidence in the evidence provided to the public. While I do not doubt the numbers or the atrocity of the incidents that have occurred, I am troubled by the lack of solid, open evidence that proves that it was in fact the Syrian government that released the weapons. What if it was in fact an attack by the Syrian rebels? There is no “good” or moral side in the conflict between the rebels and the Syrian government.

Secondly, it is not and should not be the moral imperative of the United States to involve itself in foreign conflicts such as these. There has been no attack against us to suggest that we would be entering into a “just” conflict. Acting through a military strike would be to claim that we are the father of the world, and we have the authority and the moral right to “correct” wayward “children.” This is a prideful and fallacious position.

Thirdly, it is not logical to think that any military strike could be effective in producing outcomes desirable to the nation of Syria and the world at large. On one side I would argue that it is not possible to bring peace to this situation: there is no peace to “keep” and peace cannot be made through violence. On the other, more pragmatic side, I would argue that a limited military strike could end in only two possible scenarios: 1) Assad’s government is bruised, but not disabled. If Assad is so evil as to commit the crimes he is accused of, we cannot expect to stop him by giving him a slap on the wrist. In this scenario, our efforts would be fruitless. 2) Assad’s government crumbles. This is not the outcome Obama is suggesting will happen, but it is entirely possible. Who will take power then? Are we suggesting that we pick out the leader for the new government in Syria? It is not our right to do so!

Fourthly, it is too much of a risk for our own nation to enter this conflict. Our very recent history in Iraq should be enough to convince us that unprovoked (true provocation would be an attack against our nation on our territory) action can lead to lengthy, bloody, expensive war. We should not spend our money on this conflict, when there is urgent need for our tax dollars elsewhere (especially to pay off our federal government’s appalling debt). I do not trust that boots will not be on Syrian soil – if the conflict goes on, that inevitably will happen.

Finally, I argue on behalf of the Syrian people. How many innocent victims will be caught in the crosshairs of this conflict? There is no way for us to 100% guarantee that a military strike would claim only the lives and property of guilty men. If we engage in this conflict, there will be innocent lives lost. Such action would leave blood on our hands. We cannot cover the crimes of Syria with the innocent blood of its people.

Once again, I urge you to oppose the President’s plan for military strike against Syria. Please do much more than vote against it. Argue against it, pray against it, fight against it.

Thank you for your service to the State of Ohio.

Emily Weis