Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Message to Congress About Syria

Below is the text of an email message I just sent to my elected representatives (drafted by the USCCB) urging them to vote against President Obama's proposed war with Syria. The opening and closing paragraphs are the bishops'; the middle paragraph is mine. To send a similar message yourself, click here.

September 5, 2013

Dear Representative Goodlatte:

Dear Senator Kaine:

Dear Senator Warner:

As Congress debates a resolution authorizing military force in Syria, I urge you instead to support U.S. leadership for peace. Both the Holy See and Conference of Bishops have condemned the chemical attack, but remain convinced that only dialogue can save lives and bring about peace in Syria. In a recent letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote: "'[T]he path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option to put an end to the conflict..' We ask the United States to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial and neutral humanitarian assistance, and encourage building an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities."

Please don't drag our country into an unnecessary, unjustified, and dangerous war with Syria. The consequences of such a military intervention would be horrific. An armed conflict between the U.S. and Syria would not serve the best interests of either nation. I strongly urge you to reject President Obama's phony arguments for engaging our military in Syria and to vote AGAINST any authorization for the use of military force. Please say NO to war and YES to peace, for the good of everyone involved. I will be closely monitoring your action on this issue and will keep it in mind as we head toward the Congressional elections next year.

Thank you for your consideration of this urgent request for U.S. leadership for peace in Syria. Instead of authorizing the use of military force, Syrians need assistance from the United States and the international community to achieve an immediate ceasefire, to initiate serious and inclusive negotiations, and to provide impartial humanitarian assistance to all Syrians in need.


Justin Soutar

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