September 5, 2013

Letters to the editor: Readers oppose intervention in Syria

Bill Nemitz's column ("Syrian images hang over peace protest," Sept. 1) about Portland's Saturday peace protest against a U.S. invasion of Syria did not accurately represent the objectives of the march or the views of its participants. (I attended the protest and was quoted in his column.)

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Free Syrian Army fighters stand by a damaged bus in Idlib province Wednesday. The evidence produced to support U.S. military action in Syria actually erodes the White House’s case, a reader says.

The Associated Press

Nemitz portrayed Saturday's peace demonstrators buying -- as he does -- Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama's smoking gun (i.e., the yet-to-be-produced evidence that links Assad to the gassing of innocent Syrians).

The more the evidence gathers, the less credibility the White House has. On Sunday, Kerry held a press conference where he produced a photo of gassed victims. Later, the photographer who took the picture came forth and said it represented Iraqi victims in 2003!

Furthermore, the U.N. inspectors haven't even completed their report. They have yet to determine if Assad or the rebels caused the gassing.

Sunday evening, a Doctors Without Borders report linked the gassing to the rebels.

The Portland peace community is opposed to U.S. military action in Syria because we do not believe it can be a limited war and could lead to a major Middle East conflict involving Iran, Russia and Israel, all of whom possess impressive nuclear arsenals.

Nemitz's concern about the killing of innocent children in Syria is not isolated to Syria.

I would ask him to consider the huge number of innocent children killed by American drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, along with the Israeli bombings of Palestine and Gaza, where the deaths of children exceed 1,500.

Pat Taub

Portland

Once again, we have an administration beating the drums of war.

This time it's the Democrats.

In spite of credible doubt that it was Syria's Bashar Assad who ordered chemical weapons be used "on his own people," somehow we are to believe that the only viable response to the incident is for U.S. warships to lob $3 million missiles to destroy the infrastructure of the same, suffering people.

Let's remember, as we've been told over and over again: The U.S. doesn't count civilian deaths that occur from our military assaults.

This time, the situation is different.

In large part due to the last wars that we put on a credit card (remember those tax breaks we gave to the rich?) our communities are suffering.

We are still unemployed, or underemployed, or not earning enough to make a living.

More of us are using food stamps, a program under attack.

The sequester left our 4-year-olds without that life-changing Head Start experience, and our elders wait in vain for their Meals on Wheels.

Our homeless shelters are overflowing. Rather than provide supportive living environments for our mentally ill, these brothers and sisters are dumped into the streets and prisons, leaving their families in anguish.

Portland Press Herald readers are well aware of the problems facing Maine's elders.

The most shocking reality is that we knew this was coming and we did nothing to prepare.

Our social infrastructure has as many potholes, leaking roofs and rusty steel as our roads, schools and bridges.

For decades, regardless of party affiliation, elected officials have offered up the best of our discretionary dollars for military spending.

The result is an elite class that has become uber-rich, endless war abroad and a frayed, insecure populace at home.

Enough! Do not bomb Syria. Bring our war dollars home. 

Mary Beth Sullivan

(Continued on page 2)

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