The following was sent to New York Senators Charles Schumer (Democrat) and Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat), and to Congressman Michael Grimm (Republican-Staten Island/Brooklyn)
September 4, 2013
I write to ask you please to vote NOT IN FAVOR of our attacking Syria. Here I give my reasons. (I mention here that I have lived and worked in the Middle East and in Africa.)
Anyone who does not realize that what is happening and has been happening in Syria is horrendous is heartless. This carnage and destruction begs for a solution. Plans for thrusts of power on the country have little to do with proposing a just solution. It is a civil war. A Syrian writer (Alia Malek) wrote “While sectarianism has become the vehicle of the Syrian conflict, it was never its impulse.”
It is my view that the we should tread lightly (I will not dwell on our seeming general application of the points of the “Project for the New American Century” — but it is applicable). We attacked Iraq — no weapons of mass destruction, no plans to attack us — dismantling its government, which led to sectarian rancor. A result of our invasion was violent reaction within the country (we call it terrorism). In a country where there was inter-marriage — a sectarian dividing wall was built in Baghdad. Al Qaeda was not in Iraq prior to this uncalled for war. In the course our military venture, we used chemical weapons (e.g. white phosphorus,especially in Fallujah, where it is a suspected cause of many birth defects, depleted uranium).
Now in Syria, chemical weapons were used and the results brutal. It is, it seems, the reason for our urging an attack on Syria, possibly by only the U.S. If this were to happen, we would then be a catalyst for what? What we do know is that we would kill more Syrians. Are we appalled because ‘he used a chemical weapon to kill HIS OWN PEOPLE’? Sherry Gorelick, the Organizer of Women in Black (Union Square), raises relevant questions — where was a “Red line” when Israel used white phosphorus in its attack on Gaza, where was a “Red line” when Israel killed 1400 people in Gaza, most of them civilians, where is a “Red line” when Israel continues to kill unarmed Palestinian protesters, three young men in the last week alone, where is a “Red line” when Israel continues to violate international law by building and expanding “settlement” colonies on Palestinian land, and by what right is there a Red line about another country’s civil war, especially when the only strategy is to bomb civilian Syrians (as there is no “surgical” bombing) to punish the dictator who also bombs them?
The Syrian people should not be made to suffer a U.S. invasion. Syria is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (the U.S. is); nevertheless, those guilty of the ordering of criminal acts should be brought to justice though the mills grind slow. Resolution of the political conflicts of the civil war should be resolved through diplomacy — e.g. encouragement of the re-start of the Geneva talks. Is it not hubris for us to flout international law — which bans such military action without approval by the UN Security Council? We should not be desirous of initiating again an attack on a country which has not attacked us and is not planning to attack us. Going to war — especially since modern warfare is not on battlefields but in cities, towns, and villages — should not be contemplated by nations as primary response to conflict. Certainly it should not be contemplated for the purpose of showing the world that a leader “means what he says” and that a “Red line” may not be crossed. A leader should not be goaded into facilitating, or sanctioning, bloodshed!
Please view with deep concern about and understanding of the great wrong of lasting effect which will be brought about if the U.S. attacks Syria, and vote against such action.
– Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade