Syria: A Human Tragedy Requires a Response
September 6, 2013
The Syrian crisis has to a large extent dominated our national debate. Rightfully so, citizens, elected officials and even media outlets are asking tough questions regarding the use of military force in another country. Our experience with two wars, over the past 10 years, has made us question our leadership when they seek to make a case for any type of military intervention. This is healthy in a vibrant democracy.
Yet, we must also ensure that we do not view the Syrian crisis through the lens of our experience in Iraq. Over the past two years, Syria has seen catastrophic levels of violence. More than 120,000 people have died and close to 7 million people have become refugees or have been displaced inside Syria. The crisis has become the single greatest human tragedy of our time.
The use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad has increased the atrocities and has added a different dimension of suffering. With more than 1,400 people killed in a single attack, the U.S. has found itself faced with the dilemma: Do we allow the flagrant violation of an international prohibition on the use of chemical weapons to go unanswered, or do we enforce international norms protecting civilians from their use?
We at MPAC believe that military force should never be a first or even second resort to settle a conflict, which is why we spoke vehemently against the invasion of Iraq and have written repeatedly about the use of diplomacy over military power. Yet there comes a time when our conscience cannot allow us to sit idly by as more than 100,000 people are slaughtered by a dictator.
We therefore support decisive and quick military action with important conditions. MPAC today released a position paper that outlines in detail our deliberations and why we support a conditional strike to deter future use of chemical weapons. It also outlines the need for a shift in the balance of power on the ground so that al-Assad realizes that he will not win through brute military force and pushes him toward a political settlement.
SEE: MPAC's Position Paper on U.S. Intervention in Syria (mpac.org)
Intervention of any kind must be a deliberative process with the ultimate goal of lessening the suffering of the Syrian people. It should also lead toward an end to the conflict, while at the same time changing the balance of power on the ground and move the al-Assad regime toward a political resolution. We categorically oppose any troops on the ground, and believe the international community must ensure the economic and humanitarian rebuilding of Syria as a top priority after the conflict has ended.
Conditional intervention with clear goals and strategies will save more Syrian lives than nonintervention. Basing our decision on Islamic values establishing justice and preserving human life, we support conditional military intervention in Syria.
The Syria issue is moving quickly on Capitol Hill. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has already passed a resolution authorizing force. With the Senate and House set to vote on authorization for a military strike on Syria next week, it is imperative that the voice of the American Muslim community is heard in the next few days.
Call your members of Congress and Senate to urge a “yes” vote on military strikes with clear goals and strict conditions. Find your member at whoismyrepresentative.com.
"And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah . And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. [Quran 49:9]
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