Charlie Rangel (D-NY) has come out strongly against supporting a military strike in Syria, suggesting instead that the United States dedicate the massive amounts of money which would be used on such a strike to help those in need in America.
The cost of each Tomahawk missile used in a potential conflict with Syria, ranging from $607,000 to $1.4 million or more, could better be used right here at home. Right now, that money could be going towards helping the 50 million Americans living in food-insecure households and addressing the income inequality crisis we face today.Rangel's voice adds to the growing chorus of potential "no" votes in Congress on a potential military strike against Syria – votes mostly being justified by geo-political arguments.
I believe that we in Congress should come together to wage war not in Syria, but here in America, against poverty, joblessness, homelessness, income-inequality, and hunger when we find seven million U.S. households struggling to feed themselves . That is in our true best interest, and a war I would gladly support."
What sets Rangel's apart is his attempt to leverage opposition to such a strike, and the untold sums of money such a strike would incur, by recalling those amongst us who are suffering. In essence, his is a patriotic argument of sorts, turning the stereotypical 'conservative' patriotic stance on its head by asking that we support America by helping those citizens in need. The least of these.
No doubt the humanitarian crisis in Syria is dire. It has been for some time. I wish I had a solution to the horrors that have occurred as a result of Assad's brutality.
However, a limited U.S. strike in Syria – intended only to punish Assad and send a message to the international community – will not (in my view) alleviate the suffering of Syrians. It will not end the massacre. It will not stop the madness.
And so if we are going to fight a war, given the possibilities on the table, I much prefer Rangel's option.