I am writing this letter to plead with you to oppose the President's threatened use of military force in Syria.
I cannot see how this can go anywhere that is good for our country. The President calls for cruise missile strikes into a country at war to "send a message". To whom exactly, is this message addressed? The message is that one shouldn't use chemical weapons on one's opponents. From the information that is available freely, it would appear that the Assad government is not alone in the use chemical weapons. It would appear that at least one of the rebel groups has access to and has used chemical weapons.
The current Syrian government is a holdover of the Middle Eastern Ba'athist movement that brought us such stalwarts as Saddam Hussein. He already knows we don't like him. I fail to see how lobbing some cruise missiles into a war zone where over 100,000 people have died, over two million people are refugees, and where on the order of fifty factions fight for a bewildering number of goals can provide a “measured and proportionate response.”
Bringing the United States into this free-for-all will merely strengthen the hands of the Salafists and the Al Quaida affiliates. It will do nothing to reduce the flow of arms, it will do nothing to stop the fighting. It will create a maelstrom of violence in the Middle East that will suck us into a war without end.
I cannot see how this action will do anything but weaken us. We are overextended from two wars. Our troops are stretched dangerously thin and are getting burned out. President Obama offers no clear description of the nature of the war to which we are committing ourselves. Because firing hundreds of cruise missiles, each armed with a 1,000 pound warhead, into another country is nothing less than an act of war.
I am not opposed to war per se. It is a tactic in a bigger scheme of policy. It can be a means of seizing the main chance in a situation. But in order for violence to be effective, it has to be used as part and parcel of a grand strategy. To use violence as a gesture is the act of a barbarian.
The use of force should be driven solely by the ideals of the peace we seek. To put it less gently, it should flow from what we are trying to get out of it.
President Obama has not defined this moment. He is attempting to wrest from Congress the right to send our country into war. Please take this time to stop the rush to violence and wrest back from the Executive the constitutional duties of the Legislative.