The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Opinion

September 10, 2013

Between bombing, bailing: Case for humanitarian aid

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

The allegation of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime in Syria seems to be true.

This action crosses the Obama administration’s self-declared red-line, and war-ready senators such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham advocate military action.

Yet U.S. military action seems extremely ill-considered. Here are some reasons why:

The law of unintended consequences argues against our blundering around a part of the world whose cultures we do not understand and languages we do not speak. We ousted Saddam and wound up enhancing Iran as a regional superpower. We are stuck in Afghanistan.

You don’t have to be a chess master to see how easily the move after an American attack could be a hard one.

If Syria bombs Israel and Israel retaliates, what next? If a suicide bomber damages one of our ships, what next then? How will our response to the many other unanticipated possibilities serve America’s interests?

We owe nothing to the Syrian government — they have been enemies to the U.S. and to our regional allies — Jordanian, Turkish and Israeli.

Who should be responsible for the departure of Assad? In a just world, the governments of Russia and China that armed this regime.

Too bad “if you break it, you own it” is not part of international law.

But we also owe no allegiance to the insurgents — a hodgepodge of Islamists, army defectors and angry Sunnis. Our allies? I doubt it: They are far more likely enemies of America and the West.

The Saudis can send an army or an air force if they’d like — they certainly have enough money and military hardware.

What do we owe the refugees fleeing to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon?

On humanitarian grounds alone, our best efforts. Little children are never guilty, and minorities (ethnic or religious or racial) never deserve to be killed.

So let us send food, medical supplies and clothing.

Let us be more generous in admitting political refugees.

Back in the spring, The New York Times (April 28, 2013) ran an essay, “Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria Policy.” I see no dilemma. Send blankets, send K rations, but don’t send American soldiers — and don’t drop bombs.

Alan Levenson

Norman

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Dancing forward

    The official motto for Mike Fowler’s chairmanship of the Norman Chamber of Commerce is “Moving Norman Forward.” But after Thursday night’s annual banquet, the sub-theme should be, “Let’s Dance, Norman.” More than 500 chamber members and ...

    April 19, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • Local control or not?

    Oklahoma lawmakers are a fickle bunch when it comes to issues of local control. Sometimes they want it and other times they do not....

    April 19, 2014

  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • There’s no need to fix system that’s working

    Lawmaker attempts to alter the way judges are selected are being challenged by the state’s lawyers. More than 1,800 signatures on a state bar association petition urging a “no” vote on Senate Joint Resolution 21 have been gathered in just ...

    April 18, 2014

  • On the side of openness

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been criticized for failing to release emails and other information sought by press outlets who believe it was covered under the state’s Open Records Act. Now, Fallin is coming down on the side of keeping the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014