To the editor:
The seemingly never-ending debate over diplomacy vs. military force is front and center again, and our president is opting for war. I share the revulsion most feel over the use of deadly gas. This is a weapon of mass destruction because its range of destruction is broad and imprecise. Thus we have 1,400 Syrians, mostly non-combatants, killed, and many others severely injured
NPR reported Sunday morning that a rocket from an American drone killed a Taliban commander in eastern Afghanistan along with six fighters and eight family members. This rocket was not a weapon of mass destruction because it kills only a few family members at a time. This used to be called “collateral damage,” and it is an inevitable consequence of warfare. The difference between a rocket from a drone and a warhead full of sarin gas is quantitative, but the results are basically the same: dead family members and a wave of revulsion and anger that breeds new combatants.
Using destructive force to impose our will on others is like slapping your 5-year-old to teach him not to hit his sister — perhaps an effective short-term practice but potentially a long-term disaster. When we witness acts of violence and cruelty, we want to respond effectively. Military force is appealing; it is straightforward, simple, direct, and we are good at blowing things up. The long-term effect, however, is simply more violence. If you prefer renewed efforts at diplomacy, please call your members of Congress today.