Matthew Nash

An Open Letter to President Obama

An Open Letter to President Obama from matthewnash on Vimeo.

Today I created this video as an open letter to President Obama. I worry that we are marching to war in Syria with no clear goal, and that no good that can come of this. I am hoping that he can ignore the drumbeat to war and find a solution that doesn’t involve bombs.

The full text of the video is below.


Artwork by elin o’Hara slavick from the series “Bomb After Bomb”

President Obama

I have been watching very closely the increasingly hostile moves toward Syria, and I worry that the drums beating us faster and faster to war are drowning out common sense. I know that Syria is a quagmire, and there are no good decisions. I also know that you have a great burden on your shoulders, and I do not envy the task ahead of you.

But I have to ask you: is war the only option here?

This week, you stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and commemorated Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. Yet, I hope you also recall some other words by  Dr. King, including his condemnation of “any organizer of war, regardless of his rank or nationality.”

Dr. King, who I have heard you reference in many speeches, also wrote of the war of his day that “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.”

Perhaps you will even recall your own words “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.”

Mr. President, I fear that what is happening as we rush to attack Syria is a rash war.

I agree with you, Mr. President, that war is not something we should choose, or race toward. War is the last resort; it is the desperate option we choose when after we have exhausted the last resort. Have we done that with Syria? Are there no other options left?

Yes, there have been atrocities and murders on a grand scale. I deplore them all, and mourn each life lost and each family broken. How can adding more death, more bombs and more carnage help?

This week my friend, a Syrian filmmaker, posted this on Facebook:

Syria on my mind,

Damascus swims in my soul,

My family shapes my whole and hope remains my goal…

Hope is what we need, Mr. President, not bombs.

One of the dumbest questions I’ve ever been asked is “are you anti-war?” Of course I’m anti-war, what thinking person isn’t? War is rape, war is slaughter, it is the end of dreams, the wrecking of bodies and families. War delays futures. Anyone who says they are pro-war is saying they are pro-rape, and pro-slaughter. People who say such things are not heroes, they are sociopaths, and should have shame and ignominy heaped upon them for the rest of their lives.

Mr. President, I’ll spare you the quote from Ike about the military-industrial complex, I’m sure you know it. But this week has demonstrated that he was not wrong, and that his warning is not outdated.

Mr. President, I voted for you because I believe that you are the right man for the job. I hope you can find a way forward in this ugly, horrible situation. Because if we go to war, I’m sad to say that all that you have accomplished: The Affordable Care Act and the entirety of your legacy will be forgotten. It will all be wiped from history, and you’ll be remembered as the man elected to end 2 wars who started a third.

It’s with great hope and great fear that I ask you to find another way.

Thank you for your time.

Categorised as: Rants

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