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Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 4, 2013 at 7:32 AM

U.S. involvement in Syria

Congress: Act quickly

A Palestinian supporter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine holds a Syrian flag during a protest against a possible military attack by the United States on Syria, in Rafah Refugee Camp, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Sept. 3. [AP Photo/Adel Hana]

A Palestinian supporter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine holds a Syrian flag during a protest against a possible military attack by the United States on Syria, in Rafah Refugee Camp, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Sept. 3. [AP Photo/Adel Hana]

To those who represent the people of Washington state in the House and Senate: When you reconvene on Sept. 9, you have an important task at hand. President Obama has delayed action in Syria in order to seek your approval. [“Obama tosses gauntlet to Congress,” page one, Sept. 1.]

While I hope that you can make an informed decision and act in the best interest of our country, I also ask that you act quickly. Do not use this as an opportunity for political grandstanding, stroking egos or saving your political reputation.

As I’m sure you’re well aware, the Navy has a strong presence in Washington and, as we speak, thousands of sailors who are currently stationed in Everett and Bremerton are waiting on you to make a decision, as are their families.

I am one of those family members, anxiously awaiting the return of my husband. As a military wife, I support my husband and my country wholeheartedly. I understand that, at times, he must leave our family to protect our country.

My personal opinions on Syria aside, I have trouble supporting indecision and long, drawn-out debates simply to save someone’s reputation.

When it comes to Syria, I do not have all of the facts. I am not privy to all of the classified information that you have access to. Make your informed decision, one that is in the best interest of the country, quickly and please, send our sailors home.

Stacy Zeiger, Lake Stevens

President: Practice compassion

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry answers a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of "The Authorization of Use of Force in Syria" Sept. 3 in Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama is attempting to enlist the support of members of the U.S. Congress for military action against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own people last month.  [Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry answers a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of “The Authorization of Use of Force in Syria” Sept. 3 in Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama is attempting to enlist the support of members of the U.S. Congress for military action against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own people last month. [Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]

Mr. President: You have the choice of making a uniquely American response to Syria’s leader.

That American response would show compassion; it would not be a deadly punishment. Contrast crippling war reparations demanded from Germany by the Allies after World War I with America’s actions after World War II, when we dug deep into our treasury to help former enemies.

Why not devote our country’s resources to helping the Syrian refugees and the bordering countries that have opened their doors to them? Work tirelessly to organize and lead an international coalition of the willing to provide food, water, clothing, shelter, medical care and protection for these ravaged human beings.

That protection would also serve those bordering states if Syria tries to harm the refugees on foreign soil. This action could isolate Syria’s leaders and lay groundwork for an international demand that they stand down from their carnage.

Leaders receive far more credit when they change their minds to accomplish an overwhelming common good than when they stay a course so as not to lose face.

Thank you for enlisting Congress in decision-making.

John and Sandra Stonhouse, Normandy Park

0 Comments | More in Foreign policy, military, Politics | Topics: chemical weapons, crisis, kerry

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