Arab Americans: Mr. Obama, stop wars, make peace

(Editor’s note: Representatives of Arab American organizations, faith leaders and activists met at the Lebanese Heritage Club on Aug. 28 and issued the following statement.)

DEARBORN — The Arab American community in metropolitan Detroit is concerned about the recent developments surrounding a possible, imminent U.S.-led attack on Syria, and what consequences such a destructive adventure would bring to the already bloodied and explosive situation in the region.

The Obama administration’s policies in the Middle East have been a major source of instability and uncertainty. We are surprised that President Barack Obama, who was elected on a platform promising “change,” is repeating his predecessors’ mistakes and warmongering,
disappointing the people who believed and voted for him.

Obama’s recent approach to the Syrian civil war is a striking reminder of President George W. Bush’s failing approach to Iraq, which led to the immoral, still-unjustified invasion of the country in 2003. The war on Iraq has killed over one million people, displaced millions and left the country broken, divided and prone to violence that continues to destroy and devastate Iraqi lives today.

It also has inflicted severe consequences on our nation’s standing
and credibility in the world, killed and wounded thousands of our soldiers and driven our economy to the brink of bankruptcy. Recent polls indicate clearly that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want any form of intervention in Syria. The president should listen attentively to the American public and attend to the American national interests. We, Arab Americans, share the views and concerns of our fellow citizens.

We also take this opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria, regardless of who stands behind this heinous crime. We demand an independent, credible investigation to determine the perpetrators of chemical attacks, so they can be punished accordingly.

We equally condemn the recent rash of violence against innocent civilians — Christians and Muslims, mosques and churches — that is engulfing Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine.

We ask Arab governments to exercise their responsibility to protect their populations from terrorism and respect the rights of their citizens.

Also, we expect our own American government to act in accordance with the founding principles of our great nation and refrain from meddling in other countries’ affairs while focusing its attention on the needs of its own people. We demand our president and Congress to respect international law and the Constitution, and oppose financing or leading unapproved wars against other sovereign nations.

We express our support for all efforts to bring all Syrians together to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis. We embrace attempts to convene Geneva II as a political means to resolve the Syrian conflict.