A rebuttal to Obama’s war against Syria: a point by point refutation

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Protestor at Dr. King commemoration calling on Obama to not go to war against Syria.

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Protestor at Dr. King commemoration calling on Obama to not go to war against Syria.

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The President said he wanted to have a debate on Syria. Let’s give him one. Let us start by reminding him of the real teachings of the same Dr. King on peace and justice that he and others have so thoroughly sought to appropriate. What is at stake is both the fate of the suffering citizens of Syria and the fate of our own democracy. We are, as King told us, caught in this inescapable network of mutuality.

  • Syed

    Good !! You covered all the aspect quite well except Iranian aspect involved in this whole saga !!! Its not Syria, but its IRAN which is a problem for US !! And US is trying to set long term goal from this attack !!

  • An Excellent rebuttal indeed! Yes, it’s all about Iran, and also about Israel ,oil and Saudi Arabia.

  • Hello Friend,

    I saw a link on my friend, Jemal Wade Hines, Facebook page of this article and am very very inspired by your words and agree with you on all fronts.

    I am heartbroken over what is happening in Syria and pray for peace for all of humanity. I am in band called VansGuard and it is our mission through our music to be activists and be a voice of change and peace. We just released our debut album titled “False Empire.” On our album i wrote a song titled “Syria.” It was written for all the people of Syria particularly the children.
    In the song i draw the comparison of how the media in America glorifies the Grammies happening in Hollywood but gives very little coverage, and hardly truth at that, about the war in Syria!The priorities have shifted in this country and selfishness and greed rule. It’s cool to be self-oriented and self-gratifying, apathetic. The news sources definitely cater to this mindset.
    I wish to speak out through music and spread the message of social unity, peace among all peoples, and justice to all people.

    Please listen to my the song i wrote for all the people of Syria:


  • Raul

    Very well written, sir. Eloquent and comprehensive. Thank you.

  • Rick

    I thought your analysis was extremely thoughtful and agreed with virtually all of i. However, as a Jew, I was disappointed to see that you could not refrain from engaging in anti-Israel bashing. It is precisely because of this that we speak so often of “ancient enmities,” since they so often continue to appear. It were far more helpful to focus on mutual recognition and respect, rather than looking for opportunities to remind everyone who evil Israel is. And refusing to acknowledge that Israel exists not as the result of “colonialism” but as the restoration of the historical national connexions to this land of an ancient people serves only to hinder meaningful resolution.

  • Sky

    I am Jewish as well, and you can fully bash Israeli politics but that does not make you anti-Jewish. Criticizing Israel’s politics is not the same as being antisemitic or generalizing Jewish people.

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  • Felecia

    Well written. Good analysis of the issues impacting what is happening in Syria & the region and our President’s response and proposals. Im especially pleased @ your honesty & bold Truth speaking in including the Israeli aspect that too many writers are shamefully fearful to address in their writings, purposefully omit or plainly do no speak of as if it does not matter. We cannot move forward in a unified human fashion ignoring, minimizing or omitting truths about what is. You challenged me as a reader w/one of your opening sentences, “…as a person of faith passionately committed to a peace rooted in justice & the innate dignity of all of God’s creation.” I read your writing in totality to see if in fact those words rang true throughout. And they did. I very much appreciate that. Today you gave me hope. Thank you. The human connection that yokes us one to another can never be severed. We must accept and understand that regardless of whose lens we peer through, the focus on the other side must be unified, holding the value & dignity of ALL of humanity in highest esteem.That will mean some lenses must be corrected, repaired and/or replaced, but not ignored. Your quote of Dr. King’s Christmas sermon was most apropos so I will use it in part here, “…In the final analysis means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive end”. Destructive means not only include violent action but also violence of the tongue, silencing of Truth and refusal to speak boldly when it is time to speak. Please, continue your work, your writing, your passionate championship for the betterment of all. Our world needs you.

  • Hunter Farrell

    Thank you for your courageous response to the escalating violence in Syria. My church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), issued the following statement last Friday
    (http://www.pcusa.org/news/2013/8/30/stated-clerk-issues-statement-wake-escalating-viol/) and is working to lift up the voices of our Syrian and Lebanese sister church, the Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. Syrian Christians strongly oppose U.S. military intervention. May Almighty God grant peace to all and may we have hearts big enough to receive God’s gift.

  • Kaye

    Anybody remember the American use of depleted uranium in Iraq during the embargo?


    Dr. Safi, talks a good talk. Frankly, he is the best l have heard in a long time. But what puzzles me is as much as lives continue vanish from this vicious theatre the blaming game continues, Lets face it, it is about, “Us vs Them” even though a gullible society still sleeps. I agree however, that the debate must continue despite the politics refuses to change with the times. The problem is, those that are calling the shots are dealing with a new breed of actors that are forced to play the parts that contradict the status quo. No wonder the conflict. Therefore, when the damages are done the debate will continue only to find the same outcome hence, deadlock. I have to give it to Dr. Shafi who skillfully interjected Kings words, or should l say, philosophy which adds meaning to this debate. But the real argument here has a great deal to do with what is confronting this world today, and l believe will destroy humanity if unchecked. I am not ignoring Syria but the State of Israel will not disappear as much as the Palestine nation will come to fruition. But what King saw was the curse, the ignorance, the racism that will destroy humanity. It has been, it continues to be global, and our policy in the Middle East reflects this. So what we have here is new actors for the same old role. King would say that racism is alive in the Middle East as much as it is in USA. He would agree that US policy is centered on racism which was evident in every foreign war they participated in. Shows how complicated this life is. Dictators are gassing their people but l believe that this is part of the strategy that fulfill an agenda. Since you asked, what would King say? l think he would say the same message he gave about Vietnam, the same he would about this present crises. Lets debate the real issue here. It is about White Supremacy, about maintaining the status quo, and nothing else.

  • Conservatus Carnifex

    Another faulty-logic attempt to gang-pile on a President who has handled an impossible situation with grace, wisdom, and intellect.

    Had any conservative been President, the US would already have been fighting, with boots on the ground, in North Korea, Syria, and Iran and the motives would indeed have been to make money for the big oil / military industrial complex.

    There is a massive world of difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals such as President Obama- as moderate a liberal as he is- have noble causes rooted in wisdom as the basis for our actions. As the President has said, yet people continue to ignore, this has nothing to do with our “geopolitical interests”. We have no interest in a military base in Syria, nor fighting either side of the civil war. Other nations continue to ask us to stay out of their business, and that’s what we’ve done, and continue to do for the most part, in Syria.

    The line was crossed- chemical weapons are unacceptable for humanity. As rational people know, America has not used chemical weapons for decades. The argument above regarding the US using chemical weapons is a flat lie. White phosphorus, as admitted in the first point (contradicting itself), is not a chemical weapon. No one argues conventional weapons are “nice”. It’s not horribly lovely to have your legs blown off by a conventional bomb, right?

    So why must action be taken on chemical weapons? There is no defense against them. You can’t kill me with white phosphorous as a terrorist without somehow acquiring the missile technology to launch a missile at me and not have it intercepted by my nation, as well as actually hitting me in the target zone. Not so with chemical weapons. I may be at an NFL game or a rock concert, enjoying my life when it’s suddenly ended 30 years early as I choke on the blood pouring out of every orifice, unable to breathe as my blood boils and my skin begins to burn. One terrorist, one small container of a chemical weapon, one HVAC system in a building. That’s how easy that is. What’s hard about it? The terrorist getting the chemical weapon.

    That is why action must be taken. Otherwise, humanity is saying, “That was cool, we’re good with the Sarin attack”. This will mean all rogue nations or religious radicals that continue to seek the destruction of people who have different faiths will feel perfectly safe in pursuing their production and using them. The above scenario would happen in 5-10 years in the US if nothing is done to say “no” to the use of such weapons.

    The last question becomes authority. When the United States has a self-interest- preventing my above scenario from occurring- why should the international community’s cowardice matter? You say I should die because people are tired of bombs being dropped? Well how do you propose we reach these stubborn, ignorant, impossible-to-reason-with dictators/tyrants, like with al-Assad? They won’t follow diplomacy. They won’t follow international law. They only thing they understand is their power, which comes through their toys. Their toys are their military infrastructure. Bombing them causes them to lose their toys. This makes them reconsider such actions in the future. It’s the only thing that does.

    Also, civilians are not located at military targets. The US bombing Syria will not harm civilians, unless a missile is partially redirected as part of the counter to an attack- but that’s not the fault of America at that point. That’s a reality of war. If the Syrian people don’t want such events to happen, ALL of them must rise up and overthrow any ruling body that will control them with such cruelty and barbarism.

  • sun

    Dear Carnifex,

    — “The terrorist getting the chemical weapon. That is why action must be taken.” Why to stop selling them guns or chemical weapons does not occur to your mind? Chemical weapons don’t grow on the ground, right? We fund wars, military coups, get rich, and make the gun industries rich; and you defend better ways to make them rich in the expense of innocent lives.

    — “The US bombing Syria will not harm civilians.” You seem to be pretty serious, but one should live in Jupiter (or more distant?) not to know the history of US interventions! Thank you for the hoax, it made me smile. But please don’t tell anymore jokes about life and death issues; it is unethical.

    — “There is a massive world of difference between liberals and conservatives.” Sure, but they have NO DIFFERENCE about the international role of the US as a global empire that bullies the entire world in every issue that does not benefit it. Remember: just a few month ago in April the entire world and the UN recognized Palestine as a state, and this would be a crucial step towards a two-state solution where millions of people are discriminated in the apartheid everyday. The US did not recognize the UN decision as valid against 138 countries! Obama really does not deviate from the “US-Empire bully the world and don’t care about morality” strategy.

    In brief, your naive comments already transgress the limits of an ETHICAL response.

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  • danita

    agreed with just about every word

  • danita

    pray to Jesus for peace..Pray to God for peace…Pray that the holy spirit fills each human soul with an over whelming feeling of peace and love that we all put down the guns and pray as one world together for peace and love.

    Guns don’t kill people – people kill people…unman drone – those souls are directly on the shoulders of our Obama.

    The united nations said that it was not a good idea…drones…YET obama does as he does…going FORWARD

    I am so sick of hearing the word “forward” from this administration…as long as the America people hear forward we won’t look backwards to see our mistakes?

    This administration has said in Germany…Americans have the right to be stupid –

  • Jimbo

    Overall, an excellent piece. However, I must disagree with your use of Israel as an epithet. You say:

    “Furthermore, the language of “ancient and eternal enmity” is part of the hardline pro-Israel mythology that refuses to admit that the political conflicts in the region (most emphatically the Arab-Israeli conflict) have a historical context, an earthly origin that is mired in both nationalism and colonialism, and instead seeks to relegate them to the “ancient and eternal” realm where we as human beings as simply bound to hate one another.”

    Yet, your invocation of the Israeli hard line is irrelevant to the point you are making. I don’t disagree with your interpretation of what the Israeli hard right thinks about this, but I do find your use of it as a slur to be distasteful.

  • dear Jimbo, thank you for your kind words. I am grateful.
    To clarify, what I was objecting to was not Israel, but as you see in my blog, “hardline pro-Israel mythology.” I hope the distinction is useful and engaged.

  • Andy

    I think we should just let these people bomb each other and do what they want. We should also reject refugees from Syria and probably leave every international community or organization and ignore the rest of the world. Let’s just go back to isolation and musket balls. And while we’re at it, forget the fight against chemical weapons… it’s akin to the fight against illegal guns or guns with high capacity rounds. Let’s just end the conversation there and stay boxed in. We’ve already sent food and medical supplies to Syria, it won’t help to send more, it’ll just be a vicious cycle so let’s let’s just let the terrorists there run a muck. That way we don’t have to be forced in situations where things happen that we can’t predict. That’s the best way to go, huh?

  • That’s a false dichotomy. No one is suggesting non action vs. war. We are talking about international intervention and humanitarian aid.

  • Leon Moosavi

    Many good points. Keep up the great analysis.

  • invissaph

    Useful piece