Thoughts on Syria

1.  Syria has not invaded any country with its politics, although its refugees have spilled over the border.

2.  Why are we putting high value targets into the area (navies), where if they are harmed, we would be inclined to respond?  Israel is able to provide strategic preemption in the event of Syrian chemical weapons missile launch, I am pretty sure.

3. The 1 millionth child refugee has safely left Syria.  Anyone with any sense, got their children out of the middle of that conflict.  If chemicals have been released, all the more reason for the children (and anyone who wants to leave) to leave.  Freedom to leave must be secured.

4.  This crisis in Syria needs to be resolved before Obama leaves office.

5.  Most women would never allow chemical weapons to be used.  They are good negotiators if men would step down and let them diplomatically resolve the question of chemical weapons.  Think of all of the very innocent wildlife in this question.

6.  What seems to me to have happened, is that the UN involvement in a civil war has escalated the conflict.

7.  Most people will not want to dump chemicals in their backyard.  Most governments will not want to dump chemicals on their own nations.

8.  The holocaust had about 11 million victims, and policies of oppression that had been in place for years.  It took exactly 6 years and 1 day to end this with the cooperation of England, Russia, the US, and France.  It took 2 nuclear bombs, even then.  Is Syria anywhere near this situation?

9.  Syria needs to be left alone to sort itself out, with both sides being free to leave the conflict at any time.  Obama needs to negotiate and work with both sides in the conflict, to ensure that the conflict does not continue after his term.  I don’t think that either side has complete control over what is going on over there.  When you have a military that splits into a rebel faction, it is essentially fighting itself, and there is probably quite a bit of interpenetration of both sides. Whatever power exists in a situation that is this volatile, should be supported, and eventually be encouraged to be flexible and evolve to accommodate the other side.

10.  We have no moral authority to violently invade, or attack any country, regardless of what happens within its borders, provided that individuals within are able to leave, and no unanswerable threat to our own security is imminent.  PERIOD.

11.  Principles of nonviolence demand that we not react with force in this situation.  Just like civilized adults don’t spank their kids when they do something wrong, countries with nuclear weapons do not get involved in forcefully punishing countries (who have not acted outside of their national boundaries).  Western nations don’t shove their laws on the Peruvian native tribes that kidnap women from other tribes to have children.  The same rules of nonintervention apply in Syria provided people are not held hostage to the internal laws (they can leave).

Why is nonintervention (not using militant violence) such an important concept?  Because in a nuclear age (with significantly more than one nuclear power), it is probably the single most important principle that will influence our ability to survive as a world – influencing both the axis of global security and that of freedom.  It is more important to global security than isolated incidents of chemical weapons, however horrific these may be.  By isolating problems from the larger international nuclear community, one attempts to solve them locally, using smaller means.  There is nothing that warrants the international distress that military intervention would cause in this situation.  There is no greater statement to the failure of nonviolence if military action is taken – the idea that one needs greater force to ensure moral behavior.  This is particularly true, because we have adopted a position of “It is too late for discussion.” with Russia.  It is never too late for discussion when military action is being considered, until the missile is actually fired (and lives are lost and/or an escalation to war is begun).

America is yearning for a moral voice.  It is tempting to find it in this situation.  I put forth to you that this voice will be found in restraint – by demonstrating the emotional will to exercise authority, and yet finding the rational ability for self-restraint.

Take a deep breath, take a walk, acknowledge our feelings, and then decide.

One thought that I had for a non-violent response would be for the countries of the world to organize amongst themselves a reading of the names of those who died from the chemical release – at a certain time, each country acknowledging each life that was lost, and reaffirming their position on the nonuse of chemical weapons.  Maybe have 355 people wearing gas masks standing on a big red line with the words VIOLENCE in front of it – each one in turn removing their mask to read a name, and then stepping back from the line to eventually reveal the word NONVIOLENCE behind the line.  Do this with each country then sending its batch of 355 gas masks to Syria.  It sure beats sending bombs.

mlkHere is to prayer that Obama lives up to his calling.

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