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Mr. President: Please Do Not Bomb Syria

do not bomb syria

NEW YORK — September 7, 2013. A protester at a “Hands Off Syria” protest in Manhattan holds a sign that urges U.S. President Obama to use international law to address alleged war crimes in Syria.

Dear Mr. President,

It’s difficult for me to figure out how to start this letter. I want to cut to the chase and simply say, “Please do not bomb Syria,” but I signed a petition this weekend that says just that in such a curt manner, so let me use this space to expound on why we should not bomb Syria. Why you, sir, should not bomb Syria – because based on public polling, you and a small minority seem to be the only ones who think it’s a good idea to bomb Syria. To use weapons against a country for using weapons against its citizens. 70% of Americans recognize the failed logic there. 70% of us understand now after a human history full of war after war after war that going to war doesn’t seem to put an end to war. Just like hitting or yelling at your kids doesn’t teach or promote good behavior. It doesn’t take a genius to understand either of those things. Just someone willing to pay attention and tell the truth about how violence begets violence.

I sat with friends yesterday talking about how pathetic and sick it is that a Nobel Peace Prize-winning President is thinking of striking a country to make a point about how we don’t believe in chemical warfare. We were eating ice cream, three grown women and three children. During that conversation, I asked my friends why your wife hasn’t stepped up to the plate here, urging you not to bomb a country where children live and have died. Urging you for the sake of your own children not to teach and preach and propagate war. Yes, Assad is an insane dictator who is killing his country’s children, and something must be done to help his people, but there are so many options beyond war. Why don’t we just help prosecute Assad as a war criminal? Your U.S. military officials don’t want to go to war, either, sir. They concede that even just limited stand-off strikes would cost billions of dollars. One military leader wrote a scathing op-ed in The Washington Post calling this prospective war a joke. And it is a war, sir. We all understand that. Americans are not naive enough any longer to believe that military action – no matter how brief – is not war. “Mission Accomplished” and all that, you know.

Plus, we’re not even 100% positive that Assad commanded the attack on his people. German intelligence seems to think he isn’t personally responsible for the chemical weapons use. And it looks like Syria may give up its chemical weapons after all, based on Russia’s urging for Assad to hand them over for eventual destruction.

But this, sir. This is the most important point: Assad told America’s beloved Charlie Rose that if we attack Syria, we can “expect everything” in return. Everything, Mr. President. He invoked the spectre of 9/11, for God’s sake! You want to gain clearance for military action Tuesday or Wednesday, on September 11th? On September 11th, really? I was in New York on September 11th. We entered two fake wars as a result of September 11th. No. You cannot desecrate that day with a vote about more military action that doesn’t even make a single shred of sense, practically or morally. No. Listen, Barack. I feel like I can call you Barack. After all, I have been your supporter since 2007. But I am so ashamed of so much of what has happened during your “hopeful” period of power. I mean, thanks for the health insurance and everything (I’ll believe it when I see it), but NSA spying, silencing of journalists, bailing out Wall Street but abandoning American citizens? Enough, Mr. President. Enough.

You do not have the support of the American people to bomb Syria. You do not have the support of your former supporters. You have no support in this, Mr. President. And therefore you have no authority to take any military action, regardless of how Congress votes. Wash your hands of this plan of action before there is blood on them, sir.

Signed,

Carolyn Castiglia

Concerned citizen, mother, pacifist

Brooklyn, NY

Photo credit: Flickr user Thomas Altfather Good

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