I am, too.
Once more, the neo-cons, the media, the usual suspects, are beating the drums of war. Our president (remember the Nobel Peace Prize?) seems to be planning “surgical strikes” by way of retaliation and punishment. The consequences of our intervention and the long-term effects on Syria and the wider Middle East, seem not to be taken into consideration.
George Packer summarizes the debate and the futility of it all:
What are you saying?
I don’t know. I had it worked out in my head until we started talking. (Pause.) But we need to do something this time.
Not just to do something.
All right. Not just to do something. But could you do me a favor?
While you’re doing nothing, could you please be unhappy about it?
Where are the Christian voices speaking out against violence as a solution to violence?
It’s natural to feel moral outrage, and there is no doubt that the Assad regime is responsible for more than 100,000 civilian deaths. But a moral compass must guide our moral outrage.
Christians, both who identify as pacifists and those who subscribe to a just war theory, can agree that rigorous criteria and conditions must be applied before there is any decision for military intervention. As part of that process, we must first ask if military strikes are a last resort. Have we exhausted peaceful, multilateral solutions to the conflict? Will military intervention have a reasonable chance of success, and how would we define that success? And does military intervention comply with international and U.S. law.
We also need to consider the unintended consequences of U.S. military action in Syria both at home and abroad. Our involvement could add fuel to the fires of violence that are already consuming the region. It could exacerbate anti-American hatred and produce new recruits for terror attacks against the United States and our allies. Military action could also increase refugee displacement, further risking regional destabilization.
I feel that any intervention must be effective in terms of preventing any further use of chemical weapons. I’ve not yet heard that that has been adequately demonstrated as likely. That it must effectively deal with those who are promoting the use of chemical weapons. And it must have a third aim which is: somewhere in the strategy, there must be more chance of a Syria and a Middle East in which there are not millions of refugees and these haunting pictures are not the stuff of our evening viewing.
The Archbishop was participating in something that doesn’t happen in Congress anymore: debate over military action. That debate has slowed down the rush to war but it probably hasn’t prevented it.
A piece by Maryann Cusimano Love examines the proposed action in light of Just War Theory.