I write to urge fellow Montanans to contact Senators Baucus and Tester, and Congressman Daines, to vote “No” on Obama’s proposal to bomb Syria.
The recent gassing of innocent civilians by the ruthless dictator Bashar al-Assad is horrible and reprehensible. But the United States has not been attacked. Our security is not directly threatened by the Syrian regime. Our national interests in Syria do not reach the threshold for us essentially declaring war on their country by bombing them. And will we be committed to attacking any country in the future who uses chemical weapons on their people?
The word that repeatedly comes up to describe our proposed military response to the atrocious gassing is “punishment.” What does that mean? What is the “punishment” objective? What are the potential unintended consequences?
Now, beyond “punishment” by bombing, there’s talk of arming the opposition, drawing us further into Syria’s civil war. How does arming the rebels support the “punishment” objective? And who are the opposition? We know the opposition includes al Qaeda Islamists. Is this who we ultimately want governing Syria?
We have enormous challenges here at home — jobs, the economy, infrastructure, climate change, deficits and debt, sequestration. Can we really afford many $billions on bombing Syria when we’re cutting Head Start, school teachers, and forest fire budgets? We apparently can’t afford, or are unwilling to fund, badly needed infrastructure projects. So, we can afford the bombs but can’t fund rebuilding a dilapidated, dangerous bridge here at home?
Our hearts go out to the Syrian people, but it’d be a mistake for us to intervene with military action. There’s no United Nations’ mandate. We’d have few partners in this dangerous endeavor. Congress should vote “No” on authorizing military force. Contact Baucus, Tester, and Daines and let them know where you stand.
Van P. Keele