I did have a dream last week but I did not see anyone put an end to war. In fact, I woke up in a bit of a panic having just been riddled with bullets in some sort of battle. As I was taking my last breaths covered in streams of blood, I woke up. I don't remember the rest of the dream but I do know that the current talk of military action in Syria has been on my mind.
My take on the Syria situation is similar to many Americans. Let the Syrians sort out their own problems, as horrible as they are. If we really want to show humanitarian support for the people fleeing the war or fearing another gas attack, we should set up a special asylum program to help those people find new homes in other countries, including the U.S.
That kind of action would send a different kind of message than sending bombs to solve a problem by blowing up buildings and people. It might even signify a new turn in world politics. The message could go a long way to fostering some degree of sustainable world peace. Instead of getting sucked into another war or spending millions of dollars and precious lives to make a point, we could help to create a less belligerent world by offering to improve people's lives.
The bombing of Syria or some future potential conflict in the Middle East could become the fuse that sets off a global war. Iran is poised to attack Israel and Israel has nuclear weapons. Russia is lining up to support Syria and Russia has enough weapons of mass destruction to blow up most of the world at least a few times.
Once the fuse is lit, all of the countries in the Middle East will be forced to take sides when events escalate out of control. One could even say that the flames of tension between Israel and Iran are just waiting for a wind to come along to have them burst into the firestorm of an all out war. There is a good chance that if that war ever starts it will mean the end of life as it now exists in both countries.
War is something that politicians create when diplomats cannot solve problems. Then they all stand back and order some of their most powerless citizens to fight their battles for them. Imagine if the American or Israeli leaders knew that if they authorized a war that they would have to put on a uniform and fight on the front lines along with the youth of their country. I am pretty sure that there would be fewer conflicts and more aggressive diplomacy.
So back to the war alternative. Sure, most people would rather stay home and be in their own country, but when their life is jeopardized it might be comforting to know that the rest of the world has their back, not by sending bombs and soldiers but by sending planes to carry them to a new home.
The world powers could create a new humanitarian organization, perhaps an arm of the United Nations, to administer the World Refugee Relocation Agency. (Who knows, maybe it already exists.) Instead of committing troops and military hardware, each country could develop a yearly budget to support people who are willing to make a new life in a new country.
The U.S. could afford to absorb a few thousand refugees each year and give them what they need to have housing and social service support to begin a new life. We could even require that they commit to a plan to work soon after arrival so that they could be self-supporting as soon as possible.
If other countries had similar programs it might just help turn the tide away from bullets and bombs as the first reaction to failed diplomacy both between and within countries. People could have the option of relocating before the conflict starts, possibly taking them out of the political mix in which they become pawns in a deadly game. The countries helping these refugees could also find a way to help them back home if things cool down. That would present a new diplomatic challenge for world leaders.
It is time to start thinking outside of the battlefield. Why not bring Assad before the International Criminal Court? He has clearly violated international law. According to the court's web site, "The mandate of the Court is to try individuals rather than States, and to hold such persons accountable for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, when the conditions for the exercise of the Court's jurisdiction over the latter are fulfilled." Surely killing civilians with poison gas is a crime against humanity.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse and long-time health care advocate. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at email@example.com.