Just days ago we remembered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s April 4, 1967 speech Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence and its warning that: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Now an abrupt missile strike in Syria shifts attention away from exclusion at home and borders and a glutted military budget ignoring the most vulnerable and the environment.
Yes, images of dead and dying children are horrifying. But they have been dying by the thousands for years now in Syria, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, and on the shores of Europe, with families fleeing war. Sudden escalation of a conflict in which the US has played an aggressive role is no solution, besides being constitutionally (Congress) and internationally (UN) illegal.
“This recent chemical attack is just the latest in a war that has taken the lives of over 400,000 Syrians,” write peace activists Medea Benjamin (CODEPINK) and former US diplomat Ann Wright. “Instead of more bombing,” they continue, “the Trump administration should pressure the Russian government to support a UN investigation into the chemical attack and take bold steps to seek a resolution of this dreadful conflict.” We agree.
Why investigate? There has been a long and serious problem with chemical weapons in Syria, and many aspects of this latest crime are not known or proven: from the kind of gas used to how it happened and who was behind it.
Bombs bursting in air, ‘proof’ of caring and retribution, may appeal to the mass media, military and some leading Democrats. But they only make peace more difficult to achieve.
This month will again see resistance in the streets: from the April 22nd Earth Day ‘March for Science,” to the Indigenous Environmental Network, Movement For Black Lives and others’ April 28 “We hold the Red Line” action in DC, a day before they join the nationwide Peoples Climate Movement march for climate, jobs, and justice.
All three of those goals: a healthy climate, safe and productive jobs, and justice at home and abroad, are connected — and threatened by the illegal use of this country’s bloated military machine. So let’s speak out, write, lobby, march if we can, in a strong public voice for peace and justice. It may work: the alternative will not.
By Anna Gyorgy for the Traprock Center for Peace & Justice
April 8, 2017
War is not the answer: What can we do? Two actions from two organizations:
(1) Quick messages to Congress:
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (/www.fcnl.org) offers to send good messages, ready to personalize, to members of Congress. Their message:
“Stop U.S. from making the war in Syria even worse
More bombs won’t end the crisis in Syria. After more than six years of war in Syria, with millions displaced and a death toll of nearly half a million people, it’s clear that there is no military solution to this crisis. But for years the U.S. has bombed Syria, and on April 6, the U.S. expanded the war by bombing a Syrian government airbase.
This week’s abhorrent chemical weapons attack was an act of unspeakable violence against civilians, and we are heartbroken over the deaths of Syrians, including many children. The Trump administration’s escalation is not the solution, and will only cause more killing and suffering for Syrian civilians.”
Click here for a form to fill out and message — which you can personalize — that will be sent automatically to your members of Congress, by state.
(2) Call Congress:
From United for Peace and Justice
“Once again, the United States is sliding towards a wider war in the Middle East. Only two days after the first allegations of the use of chemical weapons against a village in Syria, the United States has attacked an air base in Syria with more than fifty sea launched cruise missiles. With both Russian and U.S. forces on the ground and in the air in Syria, the risk of a wider war is real…
Both the United Nations Charter and the Chemical Weapons Convention provide means for international investigation and sanction of the use of prohibited weapons. Unilateral use of military force in these circumstances by the United States, which has not been attacked and is not in imminent danger of attack, is unlawful…