Military action has no place

To the editor:

The forthcoming American military intervention in the Syrian civil war is imprudent, illegal and immoral. It is imprudent, because interventionist foreign policy, be it through political agitation and protectionism, or through invasions and bombings, brings with it countless unintended consequences. Even if the immediate effects of the intervention can be predicted, the long-term effects are incalculable and may be more horrific than anyone can imagine. The most famous example of unintended consequences of interventionist foreign policy in recent history is interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East, provoking the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Interventionist foreign policy is worth neither the immediate nor the long-term costs.

It is illegal, because the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to wage war (even under euphemism) without an explicit declaration of war from Congress. This has not occurred, nor will it, because in spite of the numerous instances of interventionist foreign policy in recent decades, war has not been declared since Dec. 8, 1941. There is no reason to suspect this will be any different from the numerous illegal interventions performed in recent history.

It is immoral, because the rebels that the military intends to aid in Syria are psychopathic terrorists. This is not written to defend Bashar al-Assad, as I have no sympathy for either side of the war, but it is written to condemn the Syrian rebels. My sympathies lie with the thousands of innocent civilians who are being murdered in this war (and let us not embrace collectivist thinking and try to justify murder for “the greater good” or whatever other platitudes with which we are indoctrinated to justify the slaughter of the innocent), including more than 6,000 children.

Most gravely, an intervention would be aiding the murderers of the forgotten victims of the war, the Christians, “about whose fate no one cares” in the words of Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. The rebel forces have massacred Christians in massive numbers, destroyed churches and monasteries and even kidnapped two bishops, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulous Yazigi, who may have since been murdered. A vast number of Americans are still Christian, including those in the military – how can any Christian support fighting a war for murderous enemies of Christianity? Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

War drums are the death knell of civilization. Barring the limited provisions of just war theory, modern warfare can never be justified. It is nothing more than organized, concentrated violence. It shatters families, uproots communities, destroys cities, divides nations, traumatizes soldier and civilian alike, ruins lives and kills the innocent. There is absolutely no prudential, legal, nor moral justification for an intervention in Syria nor for any of the other interventions of the past century. Let America be a peaceful example to the world, trading both spiritual and material goods everywhere and intervening politically and militarily nowhere.

Mark Spinnenweber