Today, we stand at the precipice of our principles. Can we rise to face today’s challenges without forgetting about tomorrow’s price? Or will we resort to making the same mistakes which we so often have made as a people in the past?
The situation in Syria has now reached a critical mass. Estimates are that over 100,000 Syrians have been killed in a bloody civil war, nearly half of them innocent civilians. It is not the deaths of these innocent men, women and children which have led us to the edge of war. No, we as a nation are considering the use of extreme measures, a military attack, not because of 50,000 dead civilians, but because of the illegal use of chemical weapons, because of a principle. We must be prudent in our reaction, we must consider the consequences.
President Obama has called for a direct attack and was joined by Secretary of State John Kerry in imploring the congress, the nation and the world towards military action. Kerry stated unequivocally; “Some site the risk of doing things. But we need to ask, "What is the risk of doing nothing?"”
Today, we the American people implore you, our elected officials, to look beyond this missile mandate. We implore you to recognize that as the most resourceful nation in the world, as the world’s economic leader, the world’s most powerful military and as a nation as diverse as the world is large, we are not limited to military action alone. Any suggestion that our only option is a direct attack is in itself a direct attack on the ingenuity and intelligence of every single American citizen.
Our great military is capable of much more than just war:
In 1942, the USAAF performed a mission unlike any other in American history before it; an airlift of supplies to our allies engaged in defending themselves from an enemy invasion. This resupply airlift had to be coordinated to fly over the Himalaya Mountain range, without radar, without weather reports and without knowledge of the terrain. Over the course of the next three and half years our military delivered 650,000 tons of supplies, helping to repel an invasion.
In 1948, President Truman was compelled to act in the face of a blockade which threatened the citizens of Berlin with starvation and isolation. He sought to avoid war and against many of his adviser’s wishes he approved the airlift of supplies to West Berlin. This action carried out by U.S. General Lucius Clay was entirely non-violent in nature and upheld the principles which we hold so dear. Over the course of the following year more than two million tons of supplies were delivered to the people of West Berlin, thus ending the blockade.
Our history is rich and our military fully capable. We implore you to look at the feasibility and amazing opportunity to engage in a modern airlift. A massive airlift operation of medical supplies and gas masks can begin immediately, unilaterally and at the Presidents behest, without any approval from congress. While we discuss and debate the costs and benefits of direct warfare, while we consolidate our support from our international allies for a direct attack, we can be acting now, in a way which can reaffirm our solidarity with the Syrian civilian, which will send a loud and clear message around the world that we do stand by our principles.
A single Tomahawk Missile is estimated to cost 1.4 million dollars; a gas mask at whole sale cost is estimated to cost $14. For the price of one cruise missile we can purchase 100,000 gas masks.
There is no coming back; there is no retreat from the implications of a missile attack. As long as there are other viable options on the table we must consider them.
Today we invoke the heroic actions of “the greatest generation”, today we hold our military in the highest regard. We know what they are capable of; let’s give them an opportunity to engage in a peaceful supply effort that will help the Syrian civilians in their darkest hour. Today I implore you to consider this message and join us in our call:
Masks before Missiles!
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