September 4, 2013
The Honorable Keith Rothfus
250 Insurance Street, Suite 203
Beaver, PA 15009
Dear Representative Keith Rothfus,
The use of chemical weapons on August 21 near Damascus is a grave breach of international law that has rightfully outraged the world community.
The United States and some of its European allies are calling for military strikes on Syria, but apparently without support from NATO or the Arab League. At Syria’s invitation, a U.N. investigation is already underway and will soon make its report.
A punitive military response without a U.N. Security Council mandate or broad support from NATO and the Arab League would be illegal under international law and unlikely to alter the course of the war. It will only harden existing positions and postpone a sorely needed political process to put an end to the catastrophic violence.
Instead, all should seek to leverage the consensus among the entire international community, including Russia and Iran, condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria and bringing under U.N. oversight the country’s stockpile of such weapons.
It is imperative to determine the facts of the attack and present them to the public. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must bear personal responsibility. The chemical attack should be a catalyst for redoubling efforts to convene a peace conference, to end hostilities, and urgently to find a political solution.
The Syria Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) President Obama sent to Congress doesn’t prohibit the use of U.S. ground troops. It isn’t limited in duration. It isn’t even geographically limited to Syria. If this AUMF passes, it is likely to remain. The Syria AUMF isn’t a mandate for limited strikes. It’s a blank check for war.
Therefore we oppose any Congressional military authorization and favor instead a forceful diplomacy based on path to a cease-fire and power-sharing arrangements under international supervision.
Tina B. Shannon
PA 12th Congressional District Chapter