HMM Opposes Military Action in Syria

On Sept. 8, after prayerful consideration and discussion during Meeting for Worship for Business, Haddonfield Monthly Meeting approved a message opposing military action in Syria.  The message will be sent as a letter to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Rep. Rob Andrews and Rep. Jon Runyan.

“We write as concerned citizens and as a collective religious community to express our opposition to use of military force and military intervention in Syria.

“First, the notion that America can execute a precise or “limited” strike bears inherent flaws.  Such a strike would inevitably lead to further, escalated violence.   We rightly fear that however limited America’s intentions, such a strike will cause civilian deaths, and will lead to an increasingly chaotic spiral of violence.

“Second, such a strike will quickly appear in the eyes of much of the world as an invasion, and a disrespect for international law.  For our country to act in haste, without international and United Nations consensus, will undermine again the chances for fruitful international cooperation against state sponsored violence against one’s own people.

“The use of chemical weapons is deplorable.  But the Syrian government’s actions and the emerging civil war have killed 100,000 people in the last two years, and we fail to see the hundreds of deaths from the suspected chemical weapons attack as creating some new emergency that was not already there.

“We must exhaust the following paths first before seeking a military course of action.  Convene all the stakeholders who have any say or influence with Syria’s al-Assad  and who can pressure him to relent and come to the negotiating table.  This means more than just Russia;  it means Iran, Lebanon, Hezbollah, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  These are the entities that have access and entry into the Syrian president’s inner circle.

“If the diplomatic track fails, we must engage the U.N. Security Council in a conversation about the International Criminal Court and pursue an indictment of Assad for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“In the meantime, we must do what we can to support and further weapons inspections, to stop the flow of arms and arms trafficking, and to greatly increase humanitarian aid for the millions of refuges inside Syria and in neighboring countries—the surest way for us to care for and save the lives of Syrians.

“It is time for preventive action, not punitive.  We urge you to vote “no” on any resolution authorizing military strikes against Syria.”

Sincerely,

Haddonfield Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

By Judith Owens, Monthly Meeting Clerk

Friends urge peace-minded people to contact their lawmakers as soon as possible. For help with contacting your representative or crafting a message, visit Friends Committee on National Legislation.

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