Ladies and Gentlemen of the United States Congress:
I write today to tell you all of the deep concern held by a great many Americans about a possible US military attack on Syria. We are tired of wars, especially in the Middle East, and want our sons and daughters brought home to defend this country and not a large part of the 93% of the world that is not US territory.
We have spent many lives, limbs, and eyes plus a great deal of the US Treasury on wars in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as other places around the globe. Enough is enough and it is more than time to end this spirit of military adventurism. We are causing more problems than we are solving with this. Our intentions may be good but it is not intentions that count in this world; it is results.
What is happening in Syria today is a tragedy and a serious problem for the Syrian people. But it is not our problem.
It is doubtful that any US military action in Syria will do a thing to actually help that country or its people. I absolutely shudder to think what will happen if Syria really does have nerve gas weapons that get bombed and dispersed over a wide area. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians downwind of such a strike could suffer terrible deaths and it would be America’s fault for doing this. They will not thank us for this, nor should they. This is a foreseeable and completely avoidable human tragedy and a calamity that must not be allowed to happen. This entire affair smacks of the line from the Vietnam era of “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”.
If we really want to help the Syrian people, we should be giving food, medical supplies, water, clothing, blankets, fuel, and tents to the Syrians who are now refugees in other countries, such as in Jordan and Turkey. Those countries resources are under a serious strain from the large numbers of refugees seeking sanctuary. Any humanitarian aid that we could provide to them would be of immense benefit and much appreciated, both by those governments and their Syrian guests. This is how people can and should be helped and not by blowing up a significant portion of their country’s limited infrastructure.
Although it is not the highest concern, we are also deeply concerned about the amount of money that is to be spent on a Syrian adventure. These things always cost much more than expected and produce less tangible results than originally claimed. The US is in deep financial trouble now and we simply cannot afford to be serving as the world’s policeman. It is time to be most concerned about our own people now and how best we can serve our own needs before we continue to worry about everyone else in the world. If national borders need to be guarded by US troops, then let those be US borders and not foreign borders half-way around the world.
There is so much about this situation that is currently unknown that it is not possible to make a clear and well-thought out policy that includes military action. The “what ifs” are numerous. What if Syria attacks Israel? What if the Iranians jump in on Syria’s side? We know that Russia will send air to Syria but what kind of aid? What if Syrian death squads are dispatched to the US to poison water supplies, use poison gas in our subway systems in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, and/or Philadelphia? What if Egypt closes the Suez canal in protest or joins in a Syrian-Iranian attack on Israel? What if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz? We can prove whether or not the weapons used in the claimed gas attack on August 21st were nerve agents and of what type by chemical analysis but we cannot prove who launched the attack. The mere launching of an attack from a supposedly secure area does not prove who launched it. Bombs explode in the Middle East on a daily basis in supposedly secured areas. As we saw in the Tokyo subway gas attack in 1995, it is possible for terrorists to get their hands on very dangerous chemical agents and use them as weapons of war. To say that this is beyond the terrorists in the Middle East to do this as well is ludicrous. It is entirely possible that this “attack” was nothing more than an accident due to the mishandling of an unfamiliar weapon type by rebel forces. These and many other vital questions have not been answered and must be before US military involvement should be approved.
None of this is to say that the current leader of Syria is a good guy because he clearly is not. The truth of it is that there aren’t very many “good guys” involved in the Syrian civil war. It is basically a war between two groups of murderous thugs, so neither side is worthy of American aid. It is certainly not the place where we should jump in between these groups.
In summary, this entire proposed military intervention in Syria is ill-conceived and unnecessary. It will not achieve its stated results, it will cost far more than anticipated, and there are so many possible terrible consequences that it is difficult to consider them all. If the goal here is to secure Syrian nerve gas weapons, it should be clear that this cannot occur without boots on the ground and lots of them. A half million men would not be too many for such an operation, yet we are told that there will be no boots on the ground. Many of those fighting against the Syrian regime are members of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other extremist Muslim groups that are murdering and torturing Christian civilians in Syria as we speak. We most definitely should not be allied with those who treat human life so casually and so abysmally. Many of these fighting the Syrian government are the worst sort of cut-throats imaginable and their actions are not in keeping with the American ideals of peace, freedom, justice, truth, or liberty. I urgently and strongly request that you vote against any and all forms of military intervention in Syria now and at any time in the future. The risks to our people and our nation simply outweigh any possible reward for such actions.
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Ed Brown is a retired chemist with over 30 years of experience in laboratory research and industry, including serving as a senior chemist for a division of a Fortune 500 company.