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Mr. President, Don't Do It!

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In the 1980's, we watched silently as Saddam Hussein killed hundreds of thousands of his own people, the ethnic Kurds, including the gassing of over 5,000 of them in the small town Halabja. In 1994, we painfully watched as the Hutus killed close to a million Tutsis in Rwanda in just 100 days and we did nothing in response. We even watched as Hitler packed millions of Jews in gas chambers and turned on the valve before entering World War II was a reality for the U.S. military. As I viewed the images of the lifeless bodies of innocent men, women and children in the suburb of Damascus, Syria without a trace of blood or a bullet wound on their body, I, too, was devastated by this atrocious act against humankind. The Civil War in Syria has been horrific, with over 100,000 dead, and the use of chemical weapons on numerous occasions, however America must be extremely careful on how we engage or decide not to engage in the ongoing conflict.

President Obama, you inherited a country that has heavily invested in war and corruption for close to a hundred years. There are some unscrupulous individuals and companies that make A LOT of money when war is waged or missiles are fired from a aircraft carrier or special ops parachute into a country... these people and companies have had their hands in the bottom of the cookie jar for quite some time. We saw some of them play major roles in the unjust war in Iraq that also was sold to the American people based on the suspicion of chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction or WMD's for short. They were pretty damn sure that time... there was not an ounce of doubt... and we went to war based on what we now have learned to be a pile full of lies. A lot of people are banging the drums of war again, and Mr. President, you don't have to listen.

None of your decisions have ever operated from a place of fear or ego, and that is why we greatly admire you as a leader. I was encouraged that you decided to ask for authorization from Congress, as it respects the greater democratic principles of the three branches of our government. However, even if they give you authorization, that still doesn't mean you have to drop bombs over Damascus. When you promoted the concept of direct diplomacy and "face-to-face" meetings with some our worst enemies during your 2008 campaign, you were scolded by other politicians (many of whom support you now) and many members of the media. But, for your staunchest supporters, this is why we fought so hard to elect you as our president, because we believe in you, and we believe that if you are able to find a diplomatic solution, you will. I am a proud anti-war activist and I am a firm believer that every possible diplomatic solution should be explored before anyone's life is put at risk, regardless of country of origin. As we no longer are just one country on the map, we are an inter-connected global community that feels pain when any man, woman or child suffers, no matter what nation they call home.

Furthermore, we can never be certain what will come if we begin a process of war. Once we invest, no one knows of the potential consequences or reactions by other nations, with always a looming potential of creating a third World War. And as we saw in Iraq, not only did the war kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, over four thousand American soldiers and countless long-term injuries, the war destroyed the American economy. As we were forced to rebuild a nation in the Middle East, we watched as our own nation ran out of money. Schools were being built in Baghdad, but closed in Chicago and Philadelphia. Roads and bridges were being built in Basra, but crumbling in our own cities and towns. Housing developments were being raised in Mosul as Detroit went bankrupt. Our country cannot afford to take another blow like the one we took because of war profiteering and a cowboy mentality by the former administration.

Lastly, you should also consider that the history of our country that you inherited makes it very difficult for you to obtain the world's approval that we should attack Syria based on any sort of moral authority. Yes, if Assad in fact is responsible for the gassing of his own people, he should be punished, but we cannot be the only ones threatening him. After the debacle in Iraq, and the countless times our country has watched other nations kill their own people in acts of genocide, many people around the world and even within our country no longer look at America as a symbol of morality. If we are to act against Syria, let us first build a global alliance with our allies and even with our so-called enemies that brings all parties to the table for the possibility of peace in that country and ultimately in that region of the world. This is a chance to show your extraordinary diplomatic skills, a fresh change from the bomb-first, ask questions later, approach of the past. We have embarked on creating a new America that you have ushered us into faster than we had expected. An America that re-builds its moral authority by not always exercising its power with a show of military muscle, but rather a show of leadership on the highest of diplomatic levels.

Mr. President, you can handle this difficult situation in a way that no other President would have imagined. That is what makes you special. That is what makes you unique. That is what makes me believe that you will do what is right not just for America, but for Syria and the rest of the world as well.