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U.S. must take stand on humanitarian offenses

Date published: 6/3/2014

President Obama suggested to constituents that if we have a problem, we should write our congressmen (and women). I followed his advice and wrote to Sen. Kaine and Sen. Warner on April 21:

"There are two fronts I wish you to address with the president privately, or let me know if I should, publicly.

"One is Syria. There is the question of the use of leverage with the fulcrum being a mass of international or believing countries to help people who have governments turned against them as decided by the United Nations in its 'Responsibility to Protect' resolution.

"In the past, the United States has favored going to war over territorial aggression rather than humanitarian aggression such as Saddam Hussein's poisoning Kurds by gas in Iraq in 1988.

"The United States has not taken the leadership in protecting the Syrian people against Bashar Assad's humanitarian aggression like Hussein's gassing the Kurds in Northern Iraq.

"We and our allies need to send troops to the eastern front of Ukraine to be a bulwark against the illegal occupation by masked gunmen. Without visible mass, the usurpers see little leverage and, therefore, NATO troops in Poland may not be obvious enough.

"The option to use traditional means of deployment of resources against a country not in compliance with international law should be with the intention and motivation of Do No Harm or without firing a shot. The new normal should be the communication that killing people is beyond the pale--that war itself is obsolete. The technology of war has exceeded [our] capacity to control the destruction its use unleashes.

"The other front is the president's authorization for killing suspects by unmanned aerial vehicles. His reasons are to save troops from harm and to protect the United States from non-state, non-uniformed suspects who are said by our intelligence sources to be plotting against us.

"If the international community with us intends to assassinate suspects by the use of drones, then members of our armed forces or intelligence services should not be ordered to 'pull the trigger' or 'press the button' in the operation of drone warfare as in nuclear warfare. It should be done by our highest civilian leaders. The burden of conscience should not be on our young men and women."

Bettie Grey