Listen to London: Don’t Bomb Syria

There are enough dead bodies in Syria without U.S. bombs adding to the bodycount. (Abdullah al-Yassin/AP)

I want to add my voice to the chorus that is urging President Obama not to bomb Syria. Yesterday the British Parliament issued a sharp rebuke to PM David Cameron’s sabre-rattling when they voted against any military intervention in Syria:

WASHINGTON — President Obama is prepared to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria, administration officials said Thursday, despite a stinging rejection of such action by America’s stalwart ally Britain and mounting questions from Congress.

The negative vote in Britain’s Parliament was a heavy blow to Prime Minister David Cameron, who had pledged his support to Mr. Obama and called on lawmakers to endorse Britain’s involvement in a brief operation to punish the government of President Bashar al-Assad for apparently launching a deadly chemical weapons attack last week that killed hundreds.

Ban-Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations is urging peaceful solutions to the crisis in Syria.

Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress are expressing serious concerns about the lack of reliable information they’ve gotten about Syria.

Nevertheless, the president seems poised to start bombing.

While the crisis in Syria is obvious urgent and terrible, more bombs are not the answer. After Iraq and Afghanistan, we have unequivocal evidence that US bombs are not nearly as surgical as our military leaders claim. It’s similarly obvious that, for the foreseeable future, there will always be a country in crisis in the Middle East. We simply cannot keep getting baited into these conflicts.

While weapons manufacturers are surely giddy at the prospects of more million-dollar bombs being launched from billion-dollar warships, the US economy struggles, minority students are floundering in our public schools, and we’ve got an immigration crisis to solve. And don’t even get me started about healthcare.

It’s time for the president to turn his sights on his homeland and let the Middle East solve its own crises — with our diplomatic, but not military, help.

Other faith leaders weigh in here.

More Good News for Gay Marriage

 

In June, supporters of same-sex marriage in West Hollywood, Calif., celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Obama administration is bringing the power of the federal government to bear in supporting gay marriage. First, the attorney general’s office refused to enforce DOMA, then they repealed DADT in the military, and now the IRS will afford marital tax benefits to all legally married couples, regardless of what state they reside in:

WASHINGTON — All same-sex couples who are legally married will be recognized as such for federal tax purposes, even if the state where they live does not recognize their union, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

It is the broadest federal rule change to come out of the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and a sign of how quickly the government is moving to treat gay couples in the same way that it does straight couples.

The NRA Is Waging a Jihad on America

Prolegomena: There are two guns in my house — 12-gauge shotguns. They are in a gun safe; each has a trigger lock; the shotgun shells are stored elsewhere. I hunt, and I fear guns. They are breathtakingly powerful.

Premise 1: When you live in a society with other human beings, you necessarily give up some of your freedoms. This is incumbent upon each individual citizen in order to reap the benefits that society offers. For example, you have the benefit of driving a car, an incredible perk of modern society: it gets you places far more quickly than your feet, adds billions of dollars to our economy because of its efficiency, etc. However, you can’t drive a car anywhere you want; you must stay on the paved roads — indeed, you must stay on one half of the paved roads. If you cannot abide by these rules, you abdicate your right to drive a car.

Premise 2: The Bill of Rights is an anachronistic document, and it therefore must be interpreted for our present situation. It was written at a time in which firearms were not nearly as powerful nor accurate as they are now; today, firearms can do exponentially more human damage than they could in 1789. It was written in order to protect against a monarchy or military dictatorship; under the command of the president, the US military is the most powerful force in the world by an order of magnitude, and could therefore easily put down any populist uprising.

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President Obama, Stop the Drones!

I am a supporter of the president. However, the ever-increasing use of drone warfare has got to stop. It’s gotten out of control, and the president seems virtually unaccountable for it.

This week, the highest ranking official yet voiced concerned over the use of drones:

Gen. James E. Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a favored adviser during Mr. Obama’s first term, expressed concern in a speech here on Thursday that America’s aggressive campaign of drone strikes could be undermining long-term efforts to battle extremism.

“We’re seeing that blowback,” General Cartwright, who is retired from the military, said at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.”

Go back and re-read that last sentence. Let’s take one issue at a time.

If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution.” Do you get that a military general is accusing a (Christian) civilian president of being too violent?!? That alone should take our breath away.

You’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.” Huh, no shit. When people get mistakenly bombed by virtually invisible, silent, unmanned aircraft, it tends to piss them off. Good to know.

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