We Need Reasoned Discourse On Syria, Not Political Cheap Shots

The United States has launched more than 50 Tomahawk missiles into Syria. The intended target was the airbase from which it is believed that the Assad regime launched their heinous chemical weapons attack on civilians this week, including the horrific killing of many children.

I know that emotions are high and will remain so in the coming hours and days. I encourage everyone reading this to consider that now is a time for very measured, reasoned, and sober political discourse. It is not a time for cheap political shots. This is as serious a situation as our nation and global community has faced in some time.

This is not a video war game and it is not a rhetorical partisan political fight on social media. There are human beings caught in this quagmire and sadly, I fear more will be drawn into the horrors of war as things unfold.

This is not a video war game and it is not a rhetorical partisan political fight on social media.

Anyone attempting to offer worthy commentary on this latest development must consider that there are multiple players on this stage. Assad, Russia, Iran, ISIS and a badly depleted Free Syrian Army. Not to mention all of the civilians who are still living in Syria and the surrounding countries in the region that could be destabilized by a widening protracted engagement.

This is an extremely volatile situation with multiple state actors in play. It is like playing five dimensional chess, but the outcomes are measured in war and death.

I was asked how I would respond to the airstrikes if I were currently serving in Congress. First, I would need a greater understanding of all the options that were put on the table for the Commander-in-Chief. Second, I would need access to the security briefings that Congressional members are given. Third, I would seek out independent analysis from known experts on the region. Only then would I be able to make a deeply informed assessment, offer public commentary, and suggest a course of action by the Congress that was worthy of the gravity of the situation at hand.

Please know that if I were in Congress now, as I gathered the information I have outlined above, I would always be guided by my deep commitment to finding nonviolent solutions to violent political realities. My hope is always that a nonviolent way can be forged. But there are times when there may be no path for the nonviolent way. A fairly recent historical example of this was the genocide in Rwanda in ‘94. 

"There is no glory in violent conflict, even when it is necessary."

What we must do now, which is not easy, is wait and see what reaction the President’s military action brings forth. My hope is that no more violent action comes of it. There is no glory in violent conflict, even when it is necessary, there is only suffering and death and then healing and rebuilding when the conflict is over.

I pray that one day, every member of our human family will have the courage to “beat their swords into plowshares and make war no more.”

I pray for not only our nation, but for every nation that is involved in this situation. I most especially pray for the innocent civilians and for the children in Syria ― those who are witness to and casualties of decisions over which they have no control.

And may those individuals who are in leadership positions in each of the nations intimately involved in this conflict have their hearts opened and their resolve strengthened to find a peaceful solution to this crisis.


 

Also published on: The Huffington Post