Many reasons not to bomb Syria

September 9, 2013

My initial reaction when I forced myself to look at the pictures from Damascus of babies wrapped in shrouds was to do whatever it took to get rid of the Assad regime. But this is revenge - not a reason to go to war. And air strikes are an act of war. When I put aside my feelings of revenge I can think of no moral, legal or strategic reason to bomb Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry said “This international norm cannot be violated without consequences.” He did not use "law" because Syria never signed the chemical weapon prohibition treaty, and even if they had, the use of force is permitted when authorized by the Security Council. Syria has not attacked the United States, and there is no U.N. Security Council authorization for a strike.

The use of chemical weapons is horrific, but 100,000 people have already died in this war by other means. Children have watched their fathers tortured and their mothers and sisters raped before being killed. They are among the one million refugees with unbearable memories of this conflict. Why are the deaths by chemical weapons treated differently?

Bombing stockpiles of chemical weapons would be untenable, since many would release poison gases into densely populated neighborhoods. Going after the delivery systems is equally untenable. Syria can deliver chemical weapons by planes, missiles or mortars.

Who would benefit from a U.S. airstrike? The Pentagon estimates that there are over 800 rebel groups currently active in Syria, some affiliated with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Are we going to support these groups and give them weapons?

We need to speak out for humanitarian and diplomatic action. We must tell the President and Congress that limiting "collateral civilian damage" by using cruise missiles still means more children wrapped in shrouds. It will not bring peace to Syria.

Joanne Cabry
Rehoboth Beach

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