Cut Military Spending: Fund Human Needs, a Buddhist Solution to Syria?

Cut Military Spending: Fund Human Needs, a Buddhist Solution to Syria? April 13, 2018

While yet another chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria has spurred both demand for and worry about international military strikes on the Assad regime, many in the Buddhist community are torn between the desire to actively protect innocents there and a conviction that military interventions more often than not fail in both their immediate and long-term missions.

On the one hand, people are dying: often women and children caught in the fighting. Compassionate ideals might lead us to want to lean out and help: but how? Support refugees? Support those in the country helping people like the White Helmets? Support greater international diplomacy? Support direct military intervention (which itself could come in many degrees)?

Young Shepherd in Syria, CC Ed Brambly, Flickr

One might ask these questions with the genocide in Rwanda of 1994 in mind, in which there was a relatively clear rise in tensions and signs ahead of time, as well as opportunity for international intervention. And yet the international community was silent. Likewise, these folks might point to the Bosnian War of 1992-1995, where U.S. and NATO interventions helped end a genocide.

On the other hand, one can list countless military expeditions that have failed to meet at least some goals including U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya; perhaps also Viet Nam and Korea.

What do you think? Here are some options to choose from – feel free to vote “Other” by commenting in the comments section below, whether you vote or not. And below you’ll find a website dedicated to cutting global military spending and funding humanitarian efforts, which might be a possible “Buddhist” solution.

I support the following intervention by the U.S. in Syria:

Full scale military intervention, including potential invasion/occupation
Limited military intervention: air strikes, no-fly zone, special forces on ground, etc.
Extremely limited intervention: air strikes on military airports or similar targets, for example
Intervention only with broad international support (10+ other countries)
No intervention, but air dropped medical/humanitarian aid to civilians
No intervention, but aid to refugees
No intervention, but stronger push toward diplomatic talks
No intervention at all
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