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Letter: War Is Not the Only Option

To the Editor:

What do we do about a dictator who uses chemical weapons that are deemed — almost universally — a war crime? President Obama says the world must act against chemical weapons. I agree that the world should act. There are two opinions about what to do.

One camp says the use of chemical weapons, as opposed to “conventional” weapons, requires military retaliation now — that we need to strike back with force. The other camp, the one I am in (and strangely find myself allied with the Tea Party), says no. We oppose such action not because this aggression isn’t heinous, but because we will most likely cause more innocent death.

No, because this particular bloodless carnage and the fear it has instilled in the victims is just another in a series of senseless acts of torture. Sadly, it won’t be the last act that makes us gasp at the extreme cruelty we are capable of inflicting on each other. (The U.S. is not exempt from the role of the oppressor. We just do our kind of death by a thousand cuts.)

No, because I ask myself if the use of chemicals is any more horrific than the amputation of African children’s hands or the land mines in East Asia which were planted by the U.S. so long ago and continue to maim. Are these acts so different?

No to military action because the world really does need to act together to stop all forms of oppression. Don’t we have an obligation for humanity’s sake to use a court of law instead of war to bring about justice?

Yes, let us act and use any and all means to bring these perpetrators to justice, but a retaliatory strike and war is not the answer.

Sharon Racusin