President Obama has sent a draft resolution authorizing the use of American military force in Syria to Congress. We need to speak out today and tell our senators and members of Congress to say no to military intervention by the U.S.
The brutal and bloody Syrian civil war has already left 100,000 people dead and created millions of refugees. And now chemical weapons have been used, killing hundreds of civilians.
The use of chemical weapons is morally reprehensible, and it should be punished. The International Criminal Court should immediately start war crime tribunals and proceedings against those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. And the U.S. can take evidence that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons to the UN Security Council and seek a resolution against Syria. Both acts would make it far more difficult for Russia to continue defending the regime and open the door for international action to broker a ceasefire — the only way we will stop the massacre of civilians.
The justifiable outrage evoked by the use of chemical weapons does not make attacking Syria — where parts of the rebel resistance are allied with Al Qaeda and the authoritarian response by President Assad is aided by Hezbollah — either just or strategic.
As heart wrenching as the ongoing civil war has become, the United States should not start dropping bombs. A knee jerk, unilateral attack by the U.S. won’t help civilians — it will make matters worse. At this point, there are no good options when it comes to military intervention by the United States, and it should be considered only as an effort of last resort, not a first response.
As humanitarians confronting the horror of the Syrian civil war, we must consider how we can best protect civilians, end the violence, and uphold the international prohibition on using chemical weapons. But we shouldn’t make matters worse on the ground just to answer war crimes with a limited and largely symbolic show of force.
The draft resolution makes it clear that the kind of limited military strike promoted by Obama administration is highly unlikely to affect the ultimate outcome of this messy and brutal civil war.
And what’s more, initiating “limited” hostilities with Syria could serve to pull us deeper into yet another war in the Middle East, with all the ramifications — moral, humanitarian, economic and geopolitical — that would entail.
There are times when military force is necessary and justifiable. But this isn’t one of them.
The time is now to speak out.