Syria: Not in Our Son’s Name!

September 1, 2013
To the editor:
Are we mad? Are we going to fire missiles at yet another country because our administration has been offended by the actions – “moral obscenity” in this case – of yet another sovereign nation?
When our son, Gregory, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, we voiced our opposition to any actions that would cause suffering for people in other countries who would lose family members and neighbors. The sympathy of the world was with us and we could have led an international movement that would use negotiations, dialogues and peacemaking approaches to conflict.
Instead, over the past twelve years, we’ve watched our government’s military actions make things worse; who feels safer today than on 9/10/11? 
Contemplated action against the Syrian government for the alleged use of chemical weapons against “innocent civilians” is justified as in “the interest of our national and global security”. Just like the so-called “war on terror”, this is a multipurpose euphemistic phrase that really means, “We’re a superpower and can do whatever we want.” And, to make things worse, we’re not even clear on the facts; who used the poison gas is still unknown. 
How many times can we use military might without going through the United Nations? Why are we so willing to forego negotiations and cut off dialogue with our perceived enemies? How much longer can we refuse to be members of the World Court and the International Criminal Court whose mission is to “bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humankind – war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide”, especially when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.
Gratefully, this week, both the Senate and House will consider the president’s proposal.   It is imperative that we contact our senators and representatives expressing opposition to the use of cruise missiles against Syria before they vote next week. 
The killing of innocent civilians under any circumstances is wrong, but we have already seen hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen in response – directly or indirectly – the attacks of 9/11/01.
As we near the twelfth anniversary of the attacks, it is even more painful to think that we might repeat recent history, perpetuating a policy of failure while giving extremists more reason to hate us. If we go ahead with this, it will not be in our son’s name!
Phyllis & Orlando Rodriguez
Our son, Gregory Rodriguez, died in the WTC attacks.  He worked in email security at Cantor Fitzgerald. We are members of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.