, Newburyport, MA


September 12, 2013

Vote for peace, not war

To the editor:

I watched President Obama’s decision on Syria speech Aug. 31 and have these thoughts.

War breeds war, not peace.

The United States should do everything in its power to bring peace to the Middle East, short of using military force in Syria.

This is not a choice of extremes, a choice between military force and doing nothing, as the president said.

Assuming that the Syrian government did use chemical weapons, it knew it was risking retaliation. It took that risk. Why should we think a limited attack after the fact will influence others?

It seems strong to take the stand President Obama is urging on Congress, but this stand would be even stronger, if it favored peace.

Even if everything that President Obama asserts is true, I remember other presidents who lied to the American people about the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War or the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to gain support for a false cause, so it’s not about the evidence.

Let us take a different road this time and not be seduced by waving the flag of national security, which plays to our post-9/11 fears, not our hopes.

Gandhi was strong, Mandela was strong, King was strong. They rejected violence and achieved great things with non-violence.

Being a peacemaker is worthy of a president, and it is worthy of our democracy.

The Congress should vote for peace, and the president should support that decision.

John Harwood


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