War cannot drive out war

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Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are “cautious.” Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers is “skeptical.” They need to go further. They should be strongly opposed to U.S. military intervention in Syria.

Punishing Syria with bombs will not bring back those killed with poisonous gases. It will not rebuild destroyed homes. It will not restore families and civic structures. And it certainly won’t teach Syria’s President Assad any lessons or bring him to justice.

“Sending a signal” with bombs will just increase the destruction in Syria and the loss of innocent lives. Also, it will damage our relationship with our allies and create more enemies of the U.S. while undermining stability in the region. (The continuing murder and madness in Iraq is a sad example of the negative results of military interventions.)

The U.S. government should have taken strong diplomatic steps long ago and that lack of action has let the situation get worse. Unfortunately, we cannot correct that inaction by applying military force. American military intervention will just multiply and prolong the horror.

We must put aside bombs and involve all parties — including Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and China — in finding a political resolution. It is the civilized way out. (The relatively calm elections in Kenya this spring illustrate what cooperation and peaceful U.S. intervention can accomplish.)

Granted, nonmilitary efforts won’t be fast and won’t be easy, but we are fooling ourselves if we think sending bombs will lead to a quick and easy resolution to this ugly situation. (Again, Iraq shows us that bringing in the military doesn’t end things quickly, if at all.)

War cannot drive out war. Only peace can (combined with international cooperation, diplomacy and humanitarian aid).

Annie Capestany

Walla Walla

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Comments

Igor says...

Good letter. There is no such thing as limited war. The object of war is to annihilate your enemy, not to send a message. We wouldn’t be in our present position were it not for Obama’s foolish red line remarks. I hope Congress has sense enough to tell him to take a hike.

Posted 8 September 2013, 7:08 p.m. Suggest removal

stvsngltn says...

I agree, Igor. The letter was spot on. Fortunately for Obama, it appears that his backside may be saved by none other than Putin ... who apparently is suggesting Assad rids Syria of its chemical (and bio?) WMD to avert war. Saved Kerry's bacon as well.

Posted 9 September 2013, 10:44 p.m. Suggest removal

NewInWW says...

But - playing the devil's advocate (and as one who is clearly opposed to US military intervention) - do we get here (the Russian solution) without Obama's call to arms?

It seems to me that international control of Syria's chemical weapons without the launch of US weapons is - by far - the optimal result.

What are we complaining about - that Obama may be lucky?

Posted 9 September 2013, 11:12 p.m. Suggest removal

Igor says...

We shall see. As a fellow Nam Vet, I always take your remarks seriously. I have many good USMC friends that served in the Nam the same time as I, and I still keep in touch with them on a regular basis. I was an Army Officer (1LT), III Corps, 1969 - 70. The fact that you went on to serve as a CIA troop only adds to your resume and credibility in my book.

Posted 9 September 2013, 11:24 p.m. Suggest removal

PearlY says...

I've assumed the Russian proposal is only a delaying tactic intended to give Assad time to strengthen his internal position, and not intended to actually disarm him of chemical weapons. You think Putin's proposal is in good faith?

Posted 10 September 2013, 12:14 p.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

PearlY - just a thought - whatever Putin's actions if followed through or not has stopped this Administration dead in there tracks. Without a definite plan it seems that nobody can agree on anything. I would say the Presidents speech this evening will enlighten us but that would be too much to ask.

Posted 10 September 2013, 2:03 p.m. Suggest removal

Igor says...

Namvet,

I watched the speech and thought that it was a big load of rubbish; nothing new and nothing that wasn’t anticipated. The whole Russian thing came about because of Kerry’s careless remarks about what it might take to get us to stand down, i.e., postpone the execution of an air strike.

Does Obama, Kerry or anyone else actually think that the U.N. is going to force Assad to give up his chemical weapons? What a bunch of nonsense! Unless we’re prepared to fight another war similar to what we fought in Iraq, a limited strike will do absolutely nothing except inflame the Middle East further.

I agree that the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and the pictures of the dead kids really do tug at my heart strings, but I don’t think that our failure to involve ourselves will make much difference in the long run.

If we want to bomb someone then let’s take our Iran’s nuclear facilities. That’s something I could support without reservation. As economically weak as we are after five years of Obama, neither China nor Russia have the strength to do much about it.

Moreover, I’m not convinced that it was Assad that launched the chemical weapons strike in the Damascus suburb. There’s little doubt but what Saddam had chemical weapons before the Iraq war.

Everything that I’ve read suggests that he got rid of them before we launched our invasion but shipping the stuff to Syria. Given the fact that Assad is a Shiite and Saddam was a Sunni, does anyone seriously think that Saddam turned them over to Assad?

Here’s an article from USA Today that discusses how the rebels are threatening to behead Christians in a village called Maaloula if those remaining don’t convert to Islam. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/wo... As a Christian, this offends my sensibilities.

But I digress. We can’t be the policeman of the world. Had we not upset the apple cart in Iraq Saddam and the Ayatollah’s would still be killing one another. Though the pictures of the dead children are hard to take, I continue to believe that the best strategy is to let the savages kill one another. I just don’t buy Obama’s Hitler analogy.

Posted 10 September 2013, 9:12 p.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

9/11/2013

Here we are today Commemorating the tragedies of 12 years ago.

This Administration has beefed up security in Libya but what happened one year ago when we lost 4 American lives? One year later with no answers and Hillary and the President act like the incident never happened. Don't these people have a conscious?

And they want to plop a couple of bombs on Syria. What a joke!

Posted 11 September 2013, 9:27 a.m. Suggest removal

PearlY says...

Although from different branches of Islam, Assad and Saddam were both secular Ba'athists, not religious. I seriously believe Saddam shipped his chemical weapons and scientists to Syria. My biggest fear is that Obama's saber-rattling will have caused Assad to disperse his chemical weapons arsenal to multiple less secure locations from wherever he had it stored before. In these new locations, it will be easier for Al Qaeda to seize some of it. And while I have no fear that Assad will ever use it against the US or other countries, Al Qaeda surely would.

Al Qaeda and Assad killing each other is fine with me, but the helpless innocents, child or adult, caught in the crossfire are surely not all "savages". Doing nothing about it may indeed be our best strategy, but I don't think we should ease our consciences by dehumanizing the victims.

Posted 15 September 2013, 6:56 a.m. Suggest removal

fatherof5 says...

I agree with you here, PearlY. "Good faith" and "Putin" and "Assad" don't belong in the same sentence. It would be great if we were wrong, but those are some bad men.

Posted 10 September 2013, 8:43 p.m. Suggest removal

kurtfr says...

If Putin is bad, how could GWB meet him and declare, " "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy...I was able to get a sense of his soul."

If Assad's Syria is bad, why did the United States rendition suspects there to be tortured?

It seems the U.S. picks and chooses who is good and who is bad depending on the situation.

Posted 11 September 2013, 10:13 a.m. Suggest removal

PearlY says...

Global politics is a little more complicated than "good" and "bad." Stalin was evil, but he was our ally against Hitler. It's not only the U.S. that picks and chooses. Every other country in the history of the world has done the same, and 99.99% of all human beings. Those few who don't are called saints, and usually martyrs.

Posted 11 September 2013, 11:05 a.m. Suggest removal

NewInWW says...

I agree with the opinions on Putin and Assad, but it's also possible that Russia might want to eliminate the risk of a huge cache of chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamic extremists if Assad loses his war and might further like the idea of the US paying a lot of the cost of destroying them.

Posted 11 September 2013, 12:05 p.m. Suggest removal

PearlY says...

Yes, it is possible.

Posted 15 September 2013, 6:57 a.m. Suggest removal

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