I always appreciate an opportunity to see how thoughtful and engaged Peace Action West members are. The thousands of you who participated in our poll on how to focus our work on Syria demonstrated just the kind of compassion and smart political thinking we want to hear from the people who are making our work possible.
Here are the top line results of the poll:
39% I think Peace Action West should focus on making sure the US doesn’t pursue a military solution for Syria and uses nonmilitary alternatives.
49% I think Peace Action West should focus on supporting nonmilitary solutions to protect civilians and resolve the crisis, without focusing on the issue of military aid or intervention.
12% I think Peace Action West should not focus on the crisis in Syria, and instead continue to focus on other crucial issues.
The raw numbers only tell part of the story. It’s clear that our supporters are moved by the plight of civilians in Syria and feel the issue is important enough for Peace Action West to devote some of our resources to pushing for US leadership in ending the violence.
Many people saw great peril in any kind of military action or arming of opposition groups in Syria.
“Pursuing diplomatic pressures is a slow and difficult path, but one which may bear fruit. We already know where escalating military involvement ends up.”
“We’ve used violence as the ‘solution’ to numerous problems throughout human history, and so far, it hasn’t once led to peace.”
“We must stop using the military option for world conflicts. We must be leaders in peaceful conflict resolution. We have built up such a huge military that it seems those at the helm figure they must use it to justify its existence. The world does not need this approach! We are setting a dangerous example.”
While some people who voted for option 2 felt that some kind of international military intervention or arming of opposition groups might be part of a solution to the crisis, it’s clear from the comments that most people voting for the second option also oppose the use of military force.
“I’m very concerned for the citizens of Syria. I hate to see any innocents suffer. But the answer is NOT a military one.”
“Everything possible should be done to demilitarize the Syrian situation. The Syrian people have been unbelievably courageous, and we need to show the same fortitude as we stand with them in solidarity against their government’s brutality.”
“We shouldn’t remain passive, but we shouldn’t take military action. There are constructive ways to engage in helping the resistance and in pressuring the regime.”
Of the people who voted for the third option of staying focused on other issues, many offered strong arguments—from the importance of the issues we are currently focusing on, to the absence of a clear solution to the conflict, to the fact that Syria is getting a lot of international attention and focus from other organizations. But an overwhelming number of people wanted to see Peace Action West engage on the issue, focusing on the proactive, positive things the international community can do while clearly opposing further militarization of the conflict there.
Thanks to all of you who shared your thoughts. Click here to take action to promote peaceful solutions to the crisis in Syria.
Categories: Middle East