US LABOR AGAINST THE WAR STATEMENT ON SYRIA, WITH A COMMENT BY MICHAEL EISENSCHER
By Michael Eisenscher
Michael Eisenscher is National Coordinator of U.S. Labor Against the War.
U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) has focused most of its attention and resources on the Iraq and Afghan Wars, and building the New Priorities Network and Jobs-Not-Wars Campaign to shift resources from the bloated Pentagon budget to meet urgent social needs.
The crisis in Syria, however, is of such import and urgency that USLAW’s steering committee and officers felt compelled to speak out.
USLAW makes the following points:
Sending more arms to Syria is literally like pouring gasoline onto a fire. It will only deepen the suffering and increase the casualties among the Syrian people. It will prolong the conflict, not end it. It will inevitably result in arms falling into the hands of groups and individuals who will use them against us (blowback). It will deepen hatred of the U.S. by Arab and Moslem people. It will destabilize the region and risks escalating the conflict into a regional war. It will violate the U.N. Charter and international law. It will ultimately lead to the commitment of U.S. armed forces to what is a civil war. It will lead to more cuts to social services and domestic spending as it drains funds into another bottomless pit of military conflict.
The security and safety of the American people can only be undermined by another military intervention in the Middle East, whether direct or indirect.
- There should be no US military intervention in any form;
- Send diplomats and humanitarian aid not weapons;
- There is no military solution;
- Create conditions that allow for a political resolution;
- All the parties need to be at the table;
- The Syrian people, not the U.S., Saudis, Qataris, Iranians, Turks, Russians, Israelis or any others, should decide who should govern Syria.
What will strengthen the security and safety of the American people, and serve our real national interests, will be using the funds now siphoned off by the military-industrial complex to create stable living wage jobs, provide universal healthcare, put more teachers into classrooms and rebuild our schools, support college students instead of encumbering them with debt, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, help homeowners and renters instead of banks, and reduce our carbon footprint by creating alternative sustainable sources of energy to slow the process of global warming.
With these ends in mind, USLAW joined with Friends Committee on National Legislation, Institute for Policy Studies, Just Foreign Policy, Peace Action, Peace and Justice Resource Center, United for Peace and Justice, and Women's Actions for New Directions to launch a petition to the President and leadership of Congress. We encourage all those who share our concerns to sign it and get others to do so too. The petition is available at http://bit.ly/no-syria-arms.
The text of the USLAW statement is below, as a graphic and as plain text.
THE CRISIS IN SYRIA
By US LABOR AGAINST THE WAR
The civil war in Syria is a tragedy for the Syrian people. The U.N. and aid agencies report
that as many as 100,000 or more have been killed, millions have been internally displaced or turned into refugees, and 6.8 million people are in need of assistance. The humanitarian crisis has already spilled over Syria’s borders into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. It is quickly degenerating into a sectarian conflict that threatens to engulf the entire region.
However, we oppose any U.S. military intervention, direct or indirect, in the Syrian conflict. We advocate instead that the U.S. should focus on providing more humanitarian assistance through established and internationally recognized neutral institutions and organizations, like the United Nations. We urge the parties to the conflict to open and maintain corridors through which humanitarian aid can be safely provided to all Syrian people who are suffering from the fighting.
We come to these conclusions because we believe:
● There is no military solution to the crisis in Syria. Providing more arms to any side means more civilians will be killed. Arming the rebels, creating a no-fly zone, or any
other U.S. military intervention holds the threat of unplanned escalation, regional war, and, as we have seen in Iraq, a quagmire from which there will be no easy exit.
● Initial steps to arm “allied” rebels will surely create pressure for further steps, more forces and resources to “win.”Even a “no-fly zone” requires bombing Syria’s extensive air defenses and airports, exposing U.S. pilots to casualties that will only create pressure for further escalation, while killing many Syrian civilians. We call on our government to reverse its decision to provide arms and other military support to the Syrian opposition.
● The Syrian crisis is for the Syrian people to resolve. This urgently requires a political solution based on Syrian dialogue supported by multi-lateral diplomacy, with the participation of all Syrian parties, including the democratic non-violent opposition that
Continues to struggle inside the country. There must be an immediate full arms embargo applied to all countries as context for negotiations to end Syria's civil war.
● We support initiatives in Congress to prevent the U.S. from becoming embroiled in another armed conflict in the Middle East. We support legislation that will block military aid to any of the combatants and that bars the involvement of U.S. military forces, intelligence services, contractors, or others acting at their behest,
● In addition to our strategic opposition to U.S. intervention in Syria, USLAW has joined with many other organizations to call for new priorities that invest our nation’s resources in addressing the problems of poverty, unemployment, inequality and numerous other social ills, at home and abroad, that are the breeding ground for suffering and conflict. By addressing these problems we will also increase our national security and reduce the need to resort to arms.
We note that only 15% of the U.S. public wants the U.S. military involved in Syria, and only 11% wants the U.S. providing weapons to the Syrian opposition. We join with the vast majority of the American people in opposing U.S. military action in connection with the Syrian civil war.