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Sep 4, 2013

Syrian Crisis

For the US to initiate military action in Syria is a huge  mistake given the already violent complexity of the struggles there. Regardless of the motives, the great majority of times such military intervention has been tried in the past, the result has been to worsen not improve the situation.

Military action would be a sign of our failure as people of faith, a nation, and a global community. It is urgent that people of faith voice their opposition to their elected officials and to join in public ways of lifting up the truth in this matter. The people of Syria have already suffered too much. Let us not add to their suffering.

Many entities and individuals have come out against US military action, including ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson who sent a letter to President Obama asking him to continue diplomatic efforts rather than pursuing military action, and Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land who urges a political solution not military intervention.

Bishop Younan, and even President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, stress the fact that there is no military solution out of this morass. So then why up the ante? An alcoholic does not drink his/her way to sobriety; we won’t achieve peace in Syria adding to war.

The use of chemical weapons by Syria is deplorable. But for this, President Assad and others in the Syrian military should be dealt with by legitimate international institutions and processes, not unilateral military action of the kind that has proved so disastrous in the past for the US -- and for the situations we assert we aim to help. . . . .

Our prompt action is needed, since the major news agencies and Capitol Hill sources indicate have said a Congressional vote could happen very soon.

Write to the president and your members of Congress urging them to strengthen international diplomatic efforts instead of authorizing military action that will only escalate an already brutal war.
Please also call the local offices of your senators and representatives (look up the telephone numbers on the FCNL website).

Here are some points to make on your call:
  • I oppose U.S. military action in Syria.
  • Military action will not stop the killing in Syria or bring those responsible for the use of chemical weapons to justice.
  • Diplomatic engagement with all regional stakeholders is what is called for right now.
  • The U.S. shouldn't respond alone to the use of chemical weapons. Our country should work through the U.N. and the International Criminal Court.
  • What is the member's position is on authorizing military force against Syria? Are there any local public events happening where I could express my views to the member directly?
Please write and/or call today and forward the url of this blogpost to 3 friends who might be willing to call too:
http://lutheranpeace.blogspot.com/2013/09/syrian-crisis.html

After You Call/Write: Go Public

Please consider writing a letter to your local newspaper and posting comments on the newspaper's website. Let your community know that war is not the answer to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and, most importantly, mention the names of your senators and representative by name in the letter.

* Thanks to Phil Anderson, the ELCA, and the FCNL for writing much of this alert.

More background to the crisis:

Chomsky: Syria Attack Would Be "War Crime"

Natasha Lennard, Salon
Lennard writes: "Chomsky argued that even if the Obama administration can garner Congressional support for its planned missile strikes against Assad's regime, any such incursion would still constitute a 'war crime' in abrogation of international agreements."
READ MORE

Juan Cole | The US Is No Lone Ranger and Should Put That Six Shooter Away

Juan Cole, Truthdig
Cole writes: "The U.S. has had a checkered history in the use of unconventional arms, and is still among the most dedicated to retaining the ability to make, stockpile and use weapons that indiscriminately kill innocent noncombatants."
READ MORE

Even the mainstream press is raising some of these points:

9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

Max Fisher, The Washington Post
READ MORE