Letter to the Editor: The US Role in Syria

Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Letter to the Editor: The US Role in Syria

Fred Hiatt was quick to bash President Obama’s approach toward the Syrian conflict in his Sept. 7 op-ed column, “Obama’s Syria achievement,” yet he offered no alternatives.

Mr. Obama has to answer for every drop of blood that might be shed, American or otherwise, as a result of the policies he sets. Even if the United States were to provide more arms to the “opposition” groups, such weapons would likely end up in the hands of the Islamic State or other anti-U.S. extremists, an outcome clearly in evidence in Syria and Iraq. Mr. Hiatt should have noted that the United States is the No. 1 humanitarian supporter of Syria, giving more than $3 billion in aid.

No reasonable option has been found by anyone, including Mr. Hiatt, that can solve the Syrian catastrophe without causing more casualties and more refugees. So why criticize a president with no other options?

Olivia Amitay, Silver Spring

Fred Hiatt’s op-ed column showed how pathetic President Obama’s inaction is regarding Syria and our withdrawal from Iraq. But those are only two examples of Mr. Obama’s geopolitical failures as he and Secretary of State John F. Kerry follow the failed policy of pacifism and inaction. To wit: refusal to provide even defensive weapons to Ukraine, the bombing of Libya with no plan to assure a unified government to replace the Gaddafi regime, token airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the laughable training of a few dozen Syrian opposition fighters, and the emergence of the Islamic State as the consequence of his failures in Iraq and Syria. Mr. Obama’s latest fiasco is the disastrous agreement with Iran. It is likely to blow up in our faces.

Mr. Obama refuses to accept the idea that, as the only global superpower, the United States must lead the way in keeping the peace around the world and that our military strength must be maintained, and at times, used, if in no other way than to back up our negotiating positions.

Sieg Chencinski, Alexandria

I couldn’t agree more with Fred Hiatt’s assessment of the moral failings of our Syria policy. It’s difficult to appreciate the horrendous extent to which this disaster goes against American values. It also cripples U.S. interests. Jordan is made up of nearly 20 percent Syrian refugees and other Syrian nationals. About a third of Lebanon’s population is composed of Syrian refugees or Syrian nationals — the equivalent, percentage-wise, to all of the Canadian and half of the Mexican populations pouring into the United States within a few years. Jordan’s and Lebanon’s very survival are on the line, just as the Islamic State knocks on their doors. Add to this that hundreds of thousands of refugee children are not attending school, which is a disaster waiting to happen.

Jordan and Lebanon are our allies. U.S. policymakers must wake up and assume their responsibility to lead.

Edward M. Gabriel, Washington

The writer, a former ambassador to Morocco, is president of the American Task Force for Lebanon.

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Fred Hiatt described a deeply disturbing trend in President Obama’s response to Syria: turning away from unspeakable suffering and atrocities. Add to Mr. Hiatt’s litany of catastrophes the brutal and systematic raping of women and girls captured by the Islamic State.

The president has acknowledged the rapes in speeches at the United Nations and to the U.S. public, yet he continues to turn his back when it comes to post-rape care. Women’s human rights advocates, the Netherlands, Britain and The Post have called on the president to allow U.S. aid to support access to post-rape care that includes abortion services. I believe this is already permissible under U.S. law. It is the moral and just response to suffering. The time for executive action is now.