This is a copy of the letter I sent to my congresswoman and senators:
I am concerned about the consequences of US military intervention in the Syrian civil war. Any action taken against the Assad regime will to some degree benefit the insurgency. What Assad's military did was horrible, but we have no assurances at all the the government that will arise from Assad's fall will be any better than his, as far as human rights are concerned. It appears that, whatever the rebel's intentions of an eventual post-Assad government, they are currently receiving aid from Al Queda, and probably some similar organizations. There are also numerous reports of human rights abuses currently being perpetrated by the Syrian insurgency forces. It is not impossible that if the insurgency had chemical weapons, they would have already used them.
I feel that military action would be supporting one very bad government against another very bad government. If Assad falls we after US intervention, we will be somewhat responsible for the future human rights abuses of the new government. If we had very clear indications that the rebels intended to set up a government that respected human rights on a level that the western world might consider acceptable, I would support military action. However I do not believe that this is the case.
Additionally, I am not entirely convinced that the chemical weapons use was a clear top down decision from the Assad regime. It is possible that he does not have perfect control over his own military, and that this was an isolated incident. Even in the our country sometimes military personnel go beyond their orders, such as in the Abu Ghraib incidents. If chemical weapons are used again, I would perhaps support military action.
A bombing campaign would be largely symbolic. They will move stuff around. The only really effective way to be sure we are getting rid of Syria's chemical weapons capaability is to search the whole country out, building by building, like we did in Iraq. I do not support committing US troops to this job a the present time. All we will really do is kill a few low level military personnel manning the facilities. A lot of these guys will die anyway in the next few years, given the state of the civil war, but since it will not do much to stop the chemical weapons anyway, I would prefer it was not our bombs killing them.
Some media articles, and some of our president's statements, would lead one to believe that every oppressive government in the world will begin using chemical weapons overnight unless we take immediate action. These concerns are unfounded. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988, two years before the first Gulf War. There were roughly three times the casualities. There was no military action taken at the time that I know of. The world did not change overnight. For now, I think we should “rattle our sabers” a little, watch things for a while, and see what happens.
(Fortunately this did not happen though Udall supported intervention)
I had a few more blog updates in 2013, but they related to early edits of the compromise idea, the most recent draft of which is accessable via the link at the right.
2013 blog (not much there, new baby and all)
2009 blog with Panama pix