Church of the Brethren joins with groups warning against military action in Syria




The Church of the Brethren is among some 25 churches, peacemaking groups, humanitarian organizations, and other nonprofits writing to President Obama to express concern about plans for military action in Syria (http://fcnl.org/assets/issues/middle_east/25orgs_Military_Strikes_Not_the_Answer_in_Syria.pdf ). The letter says, in part: “While we unequivocally condemn any use of chemical weapons along with continued indiscriminate killing of civilians and other violations of international humanitarian law, military strikes are not the answer. Rather than bringing an end to the violence that has already cost more than 100,000 lives, they threaten to widen the vicious civil war in Syria.”

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Logo for the Office of Public Witness, Church of the BrethrenToday, an Action Alert from the denomination’s Office of Public Witness also warns that “military strikes are not the answer in Syria” (http://cob.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=23841.0&dlv_id=29842 ). “While we join American officials in condemning the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons attack on its own citizens, we urge the United States to refrain from retaliating militarily,” the alert says, in part. “Any intervention or attack by the United States will do nothing but escalate the violence that is already unconscionable.”

Both documents follow in full:

Action Alert: Military strikes are not the answer in Syria
 
Contact the President and your senators and representative. Ask them to oppose military intervention in Syria--and to support increased diplomacy and humanitarian assistance.
 
In the past couple of days, the war drums have gotten louder here in Washington. Ever since the horrific chemical weapons attack in Syria last week, officials here in Washington have sharpened their language and vowed to punish the Syrian government for this "moral obscenity."
 
While we join American officials in condemning the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons attack on its own citizens, we urge the United States to refrain from retaliating militarily. Any intervention or attack by the United States will do nothing but escalate the violence that is already unconscionable.

Instead, we urge the President and Congress to double down the United States' diplomatic efforts to achieve a negotiated political solution. Military strikes will do nothing but add another destabilizing element to an already volatile situation. On top of this, the United States must increase its humanitarian assistance as almost two million Syrians, of which one million are children, have been forced to flee their country as a result of this conflict.
 
As the US government itself has recognized, there is no solution to the crisis other than a political one. Instead of pursuing military strikes and arming parties to the conflict, we urge the United States to intensify diplomatic efforts to stop the bloodshed, before Syria is destroyed and the region further destabilized.

These decisions could be made within the next few days, so it is imperative that the President, your representative, and senators hear from you. Make sure your congressmen know that you oppose any and all military intervention and that Congress should hold the President accountable. Also let them know that the US does need to act by encouraging them to support increased diplomacy and increased humanitarian assistance to help stop the killing.

In God's peace, Bryan Hanger, Advocacy Assistant, Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness.

For more information about the public witness ministries of the Church of the Brethren, contact Nathan Hosler, Coordinator, Office of Public Witness, 337 North Carolina Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003; nhosler@brethren.org ; 717-333-1649. Find this Action Alert online at http://cob.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=23841.0&dlv_id=29842 .


August 28, 2013
Dear President Obama,

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to express our grave concerns with your reported plans to intervene militarily in Syria. While we unequivocally condemn any use of chemical weapons along with continued indiscriminate killing of civilians and other violations of international humanitarian law, military strikes are not the answer. Rather than bringing an end to the violence that has already cost more than 100,000 lives, they threaten to widen the vicious civil war in Syria and undermine prospects to de-escalate the conflict and eventually reach a negotiated settlement.

In the course of more than 2 years of war, much of Syria has been destroyed and nearly 2 million people--half of them children--have been forced to flee to neighboring countries. We thank you for the generous humanitarian assistance the US has provided to support the nearly 1 in 3 Syrians--8 million people--in need of aid. But such assistance is not enough.

As the US government itself has recognized, there is no solution to the crisis other than a political one. Instead of pursuing military strikes and arming parties to the conflict, we urge your administration to intensify diplomatic efforts to stop the bloodshed, before Syria is destroyed and the region further destabilized.

Sincerely,

American Friends Service Committee
Church of the Brethren
Code Pink
CREDO Action
Democrats.com
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Historians Against the War
Institute for Policy Studies
Just Foreign Policy
Oxfam America
Peace Action
Peace Education Fund
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Presbyterian Church, USA
Progressive Democrats of America
RootsAction.org
Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
USAction
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Veterans for Peace
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Women’s Action for New Directions

For the final version of the letter in pdf format go to http://fcnl.org/assets/issues/middle_east/25orgs_Military_Strikes_Not_the_Answer_in_Syria.pdf .

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