When President Obama goes on air tonight, he will have one aim in mind: to convince you to support military attacks against Syria.
We have all been horrified by the chemical attacks against people in Syria, a war crime that demands an urgent response. But that response cannot be more killing.
As you listen to Obama, keep these critical questions in mind:
What will be the impact of a military attack?
One thing that's clear is that air strikes would not significantly reduce the Assad regime's capacity to launch attacks, chemical or otherwise, against its people. It would only increase violence in the country and volatility in the region.
What's more, the secular and non-violent opposition has been weakened by increasing violence and militarization. These are the peaceful activists who rose up against Assad more than two years ago, but who have been sidelined in the international community's response to this crisis.
What would a peaceful, human rights-based response to a chemical attack look like?
Those who are guilty of launching chemical attacks must be held accountable. We already have created specific mechanisms to respond to such violations.
The United Nations must be allowed to complete its inspections and work to secure the transfer of any chemical weapons. The UN Security Council must also refer this case to the International Criminal Court, furthering the investigation and indicting those found to be responsible.
How do we end this war without bombing?
The US must seize the momentum for action and transform it into a new diplomatic push and a call for a ceasefire, rather than launching an illegal attack. The US must stop the flow of weapons into Syria and put pressure on other international actors–like Saudi Arabia and Russia–to do the same.
In just the past couple of days, we have witnessed new openings for diplomacy, including a proposed plan for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international control. The US must renew its focus on ending the conflict and bringing about an international peace conference.
And the US must increase humanitarian aid to the region. Staggering numbers of people have been killed and displaced. Bombing will only compound this suffering.
These questions all point to one conclusion: bombing is not the answer. Obama himself has said that the conflict in Syria is "not amenable to a military solution." Let's call on him to put real solutions into action.
In peace and justice,
P.S. We have launched an emergency response to bring aid to victims of the chemical attacks in Syria. Click here to learn how you can help us save lives.