Seeking peace

There is no doubt that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against innocent civilians caught in the middle of a civil war is morally wrong. The images of tiny children, women and old people, lined up in body bags are a disgusting and horrible sight. How can anyone justify such an action?

I don’t understand the fight within Syria. I don’t know the history nor do I understand the culture and politics of the country. I have a hard time figuring out who the good guys are and who are the villains. As usual, it seems that the ordinary Syrians are the ones suffering. Anyone who cares about human rights and has any compassion for others can see that the rest of the world needs to act. Beside the victims of this most recent atrocity are the 6.2 million Syrians who have been forced from their homes, more than 2 million of them into refugee camps in neighboring countries.

Congress is deliberating our country’s response to the Syrian government’s disregard for the lives of it’s citizens. At this point it seems that any action the US takes in Syria will be a unilateral one. While the world is decrying the Syrian government’s behavior as immoral, only the US is considering a military action. The United Nations, the European Union, Russia, and other countries of the Middle East have all declined participation in a military action against Syria.

Americans favoring military intervention, including the President, are talking about weapons of mass destruction. Sound familiar? The question does not seem to be whether we will act, but how. Will we simply send missiles into Syria or will we send troops? Will we remove the current government? Will we orchestrate the death of Syrian President Assad?

Is military action the only solution? When was the last time such an action was successful? What will change if we intervene? Will we be seen as saviors of the innocent or will we again be viewed as an occupying force?

President Jimmy Carter is one of the few who has called for a peace conference and a political solution to the problem. He has argued that our military intervention into the conflict is illegal according to international law. He has called for uniting the international community to condemn the Syrian government’s action and to have the U.N. assume oversight of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The media just barely covered President Carter’s statement.

Why would we rush to send bombs and troops into another country in the Middle East? How can we afford another war? How many more innocent children and old people will be killed in the crossfire? How many more will become refugees as their homes are destroyed, living in tents, waiting for meager food rations to be handed out? How many more young Americans will die or come home wounded physically and mentally only to be told we can’t afford to take care of them because our national debt is too high?

Perhaps President Carter is naive. Maybe there is no peaceful solution to the conflicts which erupt around the world. Shouldn’t peacemaking and political solutions be the first course of action? Shouldn’t more armed conflict be the last resort?