Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Aid, Not Bombs

To The Wichita Eagle, Sept. 15, 2013

The Syrian crisis gives the United States a great opportunity to show the world what humanitarian help really looks like.

If we really want to help Syria, let's provide (maybe even unilaterally) food, shelter, protection, medicine and schooling to the 2 million Syrian refugees, half of whom are children. Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq are in dire need of the basics of human existence in order to cope with the refugees.

Syria is finally, after 2 1/2 years and 120,000 deaths, on the international stage. Now is the time for an unprecedented humanitarian "Marshall Plan" to provide life, not death, to citizens of an amazingly rich and ancient culture. More bombs would be stupid and are not in the national interest of the United States, no matter what Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, says.

Secretary of State John Kerry calls those of us opposed to an attack on Syria "armchair isolationists." He is wrong. Seventy percent of this nation wants no attack on Syria. But we are a generous and giving people. So let's stop being the leading arms dealer in the world and take on the really peaceful step of providing humanitarian aid to those dying for lack of the basics.

Let's help make a livable world instead of aiding and abetting its criminal destruction.

Michael Poage, Wichita, KS

Israel's Support Outrageous

To The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept. 12, 2013

According to the Sept. 10 edition of The New York Times, The [American] Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC], a lobbying group for Israel, sent 300 of its members to Congress to urge members to support a strike on Syria. I find it outrageous that Israel would attempt to persuade the U.S. Congress to vote for military action in Syria. It is even more disturbing, if the report is true, that President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry asked the Israeli government to get involved in lobbying Congress. Apparently they believe Israel has more clout with Congress than they do. Once more we are being pressed to engage in an act of war to protect Israel's interest. When will Israel be able to protect its own interests? Thousands of Americans have already died as a direct result of our unconditional support for Israel. It's time to cut the umbilical cord and let Israel defend itself. Not one more American life should be lost or put at risk in the morass that is the Middle East.

Alan Smith, Santa Fe, NM

Tough Agreement Necessary

To The Washington Post, Sept. 15, 2013

The Sept. 12 editorial "Chemistry lesson" made the valid point that eliminating Syria's stores of chemical weapons is a daunting task. It almost certainly will take a concerted international effort for a prolonged period to ensure that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fulfills any commitments he makes. It would be wrong, however, to reject this solution because it is difficult. The military alternative would present even more formidable obstacles (as noted in former President Jimmy Carter's op-ed, "Military strikes won't work," that same day), with much less assurance of success. Even a surgical strike such as the one the president apparently contemplates offers no assurance that it can degrade Syria's chemical-warfare capabilities without creating unintended adverse consequences, including perhaps the inadvertent release of lethal gas in populated areas. Clearly the best option for ending this threat is an aggressive, long-term, multinational initiative to remove and safely destroy Mr. Assad's stockpiles.

Randy Speck, Washington, DC

Red Line Wasn't Always Drawn

To The Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 31, 2013

During the Iran-Iraq war in the late 1980s, poison gas was used on the Iranians by Saddam Hussain, and it's now being reported that American officials knew. Where was the outcry then over the poor children of Iran? Now that the same thing has happened in Syria, it is a "moral obscenity" to ignore it, according to John Kerry, secretary of state-and we can't even wait for a full United Nations report. …

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