05 December 2013

Letter to the President

My brother sent me a copy of a letter he wrote to the President back in September.  I asked him for permission to post it here, and he sent me a revision, and then I got busy and didn't get to it.  It's out of date now, but it's still a good letter -- so here you go.


Dear President Obama:

As a lifelong Democrat who voted for you twice, I have supported nearly all of your political policies.
As an environmentalist who recognizes the need for petroleum, I welcome your middle-of-the-road environmental positions. As a member of the middle-class who was laid off during the recession, I appreciate your laws mandating health insurance for every United States citizen. As a common-sense Democrat, I have supported the many political positions that are both yours and the Democratic Party’s. However, the issue of military engagement with Syria has propelled me to speak out against U.S. involvement.
When George W. Bush was president and engaged the U.S. in numerous military conflicts, Democrats were up in arms. With the exception of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan — which most people supported — Democrats, rightfully so, spoke out against war, opposed the use of U.S. arms and personnel in foreign conflicts and derided the Republican propensity to start wars.
When you were elected president, you forged a new foreign policy. You pledged arbitration not arms, mediation not military action. I, along with most Democrats, have supported this ideology.
Today, as in the past few decades, the people most likely to support U.S. military involvement in foreign wars do not have sons or daughters in the military. (Personally I do not have military-age children). The question to ask those who ardently support U.S. military involvement in Syria or other countries is: “Is U.S. involvement so important that you are willing to sacrifice the life of one of your children?”
As you are well aware, the demographics of the U.S. military are overwhelmingly minority and low-income. This is the demographic who will lose their lives in any protracted military involvement — not the children of the white elite such as John Kerry, John Boehner or John McCain.
United States citizens are not only war-weary, but we are war-wary. Will Syria become another Egypt? Bouncing from one totalitarian regime to another? Or will it become another Iraq? Swallowing thousands of lives as well as trillions of dollars? Aside from the human death toll, what about the financial cost of war? With the U.S. still reeling from its depression, still mired in a prolonged recession, the country cannot afford to endlessly print greenbacks to pay for bombs.
For all of these reasons — ideological, financial and humanitarian — I am imploring you to retreat from your plan of U.S. military involvement in Syria. As a Democrat and a voter, I am asking you to implement your campaign promises of Peace not War.
Chris Estes