Neither President Obama nor some opponents of war with Syria are being forthright when they say they are standing up for the people of that country.

By advocating bombing Syria, Obama is likely to end up killing hundreds if not thousands of innocent people in Syria.

He says he is responding to a war crime, but he would be committing a graver war crime by launching attacks on Syria. Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremburg Trials said the biggest war crime of all is to engage in an aggressive war.

As for delivering an oppressed people from tyranny, we have the recent example of Bush's war in Iraq (based on bogus reports of weapons of mass destruction) and NATO's violent intervention in Libya. Neither ended well.

Even as over 1,000 Syrians were being killed by chemical weapons, nearby Egypt's murderous military went on a rampage and murdered hundreds of demonstrators. Secretary of State John Kerry won't even cut off military aid to Egypt, let alone bomb that country "to protect the innocent."

Double standards are all over the place. The United States used Agent Orange in Vietnam and depleted uranium shells in Iraq. Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza. All are versions of chemical weapons, and all did enormous harm.

That being said, those who oppose Obama's war plans would be well advised not to give Syrian dictator Assad a free pass.

Since the Arab Spring spread to Syria, Assad's forces have murdered tens of thousands of people for demanding the same things as protesters in Egypt, Tunisia, and so many other places of the world: freedom.

Sadly, some the same voices that speak out against U.S. military intervention have for the most part kept quiet about Assad's crimes.

The slogan "No war in Syria" is downright absurd. There already is a war in Syria, and it has killed over 100,000 people in barely a couple of years.

And the calls against foreign intervention in Syria are downright hypocritical if they do not include Russia, which has for years armed Assad's forces to their teeth.

Let's stand by the Syrian people. They don't want to be bombed by Western "liberators," but they don't want a genocidal dictator either.

What they want is peace. What they want is freedom.

And the best way to get there is to bring all sides to the peace table.

Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is a Puerto Rican author, journalist, and environmental educator. He can be reached at

You can read more pieces from The Progressive Media Project by clicking here.


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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