Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 07th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Rep. Sam Farr

sam farr2As the conflict in Syria continues to unfold, what is your stance on U.S. involvement?

I was an early opponent to military intervention in Syria. The atrocities of the Assad regime are crimes against humanity and in direct violation of international law. However, without an overt threat to our national security and without a clearly defined, achievable goal to end the Syrian people’s suffering, I find it difficult to justify engaging our military in another nation’s civil war with no clear endgame.

But I do not think we should ignore the plight of the Syrian people. The goal of the United States should be to bring stability and peace to the region. I am afraid that committing the United States to a military strike would have unintended consequences that fan the flames of war and increase the suffering of the Syrian people.

From day one, I have believed that diplomacy is the path we must relentlessly pursue, and I was heartened by President Barack Obama’s recent re-commitment to that path. Over the weekend, we took a big step forward in that process when Russia and the United States agreed on a plan to bring the Syrian chemical weapons under international control. 

While I am hopeful that diplomacy will remove the threat posed by chemical weapons in Syria, I am still well aware that this is a complicated process that—at best—will only partially ease the pain of the Syrian people. Two years of civil war has torn the country apart, leaving millions of Syrians without a home and threatening the stability of the entire region.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has forced the displacement of more than 6.8 million people—almost one-third of the country’s population. Of those displaced, nearly 2 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries. The sudden influx of people has placed a severe strain on the resources of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and other parts of North Africa.

Due to overcrowding, the capacity in many of the refugee camps is insufficient to meet the ever-rising humanitarian need and many are living outside of the camps. The problem continues to grow worse each day. Since January, an average of 200,000 refugees has fled Syria each month. Last week, the number of refugees crossing the Jordanian border increased tenfold to almost 900 people a day.

This large of a population of refugees and internally displaced people (those forced to flee their homes in Syria) is a threat to basic human rights and the stability of an already fragile Middle East. People displaced from their communities, without safe access to food, shelter or healthcare, are especially vulnerable to violence and recruitment by armed actors, among other threats of war. Poor living conditions and dwindling resources in the camps have created potential for further unrest beyond Syria’s borders.

The United States has already committed some aid but there is still much more that must be done. When our country put out the call to punish the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, the international community responded, and we are now working with Russia and the UN Security Council to develop a plan to peacefully remove the chemical weapons from Assad’s control. 

Our bottom line can and should be peace, for the people of Syria and for the region as a whole. Those in Washington who believe the suffering of the Syrian people is cause for a military strike should also be advocating just as loudly for humanitarian aid.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Hot in Here

This ain’t no Burning Man—the MAH’s GLOW festival flames on


Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Red Scars

Mao’s politics made personal in poignant Chinese family drama ‘Coming Home’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Seoul Food

Santa Cruz’s new Sesame Korean is a great introduction to an ancient culinary tradition


Is there evil in the world?

Yes, some people don’t think right because they have been treated badly. Milo Robbins, Scotts Valley, Second Grade


Dos Aguilas Olive Oil

Aptos company is letting locals pick their own olives in October


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist