(This is a recent post I wrote for my DAMMM website)
And simultaneously bring a stimulus to the U.S. economy.
What we do is drop into Syria a billion dollars’ worth of I-phones and Androids, another billion or two of the 2011 cars not yet sold by Ford and General Motors, and a half a billion or so each of Dell and the Hewlett Packard computers. We could also drop a billion dollars or so worth of grain and food surpluses from Cargill, Con-Agra and Kraft. We also drop a half a billion bucks worth of the about to be outdated Windows software from Microsoft. We could make it an international effort by buying up several Walmart distribution centers and dropping the whole lot of Chinese made products.
All of this would be much less expensive, and much more practical and compassionate than if we were to offer military aid to the Syrian rebels, particularly the disorganized ragamuffins who call themselves the Free Syrian Army. Aiding any group that is taking up arms against the obviously heartless, bloody and ruthless Assad regime would only intensify and prolong the killing, prolong the bloodshed. Such military aid would be both impractical and unethical, immoral, as opposed to the more humane approach offered above.
We’re only half joking here. And we are not being naïve. We desperately want to help others in bringing a quick end to the horrors ongoing in Syria, where over 18,000 men, women and children have died at a result of the uprising, and over a million people displaced from their homes. How best to do this?
Hilary Clinton has promised $25 million in “non-lethal” communication gear to the rebels, which can only increase the violence. (What else are the rebels going to communicate about?)
Although not mentioned much in the mainstream press, there is a widespread urge toward non-violent resistance amongst the Syrian people that Ms. Clinton’s offer does little to support. One of the most dramatic expressions of this urge toward non-violence happened earlier this year when a young female Syrian refugee worker, Rima Dali stood outside the Syrian parliament with a banner that read, ‘Stop the killing, we want to build a country for all Syrians.” She poured red and white paint over her body. Arrested and released four days later, she continues to be a spokesperson for the non-violence movement.
“The government wanted to push people into violence because that’s their game and they don’t know how to deal with nonviolence,” Ms. Dali said.
Military aid to the Syrian rebels is currently being offered by very non-democratic governments such as Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and outside religious groups hoping to make Syria the next battleground. “The situation is no longer in the hands of Syrians. We are pawns in a big game,” said Youssef Abdelke, a leading Syrian artist.
The U.S. has a long history of playing such games, and attempting to apply military solutions to the world’s human problems. In this new millennium we need more and more voices speaking out to break that sad direction in U.S. foreign policy. Let’s don’t supply military aid to Syrian rebels. Let’s offer real aid, and real hope for an end to the bloodshed, to the Syrian people.