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On Syria, Civil Rights Official Tells ICP War Takes from Poor, Haiti Echo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 18 -- While votes in the US Congress on military action on Syria were averted for now by the US - Russia deal struck in Geneva, Washington is still abuzz with different views of just what happened.

  Inner City Press on Tuesday night asked Hilary O. Shelton, the director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Washington office, what he thought of Syria.

  He said that finding ways to avert engaging in war is always the best policy, war should always be reserved as the absolute last option. In addition to the loss of human life, money and resources spent on war is taken away from pressing basic human needs and programs of the poor in the US. He recalled the "Iraqi war supplemental in its first year under the Bush administration of $125 billion." He also recounted being asked under President Bill Clinton if the US should invade Haiti. No, he said, and went to the White House to make the point.

Instead, the US sent Colin Powell, Sam Nunn and Jimmy Carter to negotiate. Haiti was (and is) a poor country, he said, that didn't need an American military invasion.

Shelton authorized the use of what he said, asking only that it be clear that it is not the official position of the NAACP, founded in Niagara, Canada 140 years ago and instrumental in civil rights legislation since, including voting rights which he credited for stopping or pausing the bombing of Syria.

Syria is not as poor as Haiti, but it is unclear at least to Inner City Press if more violence, or arming Al Nusra or ISIS, is the answer. Senator John McCain, speaking Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, views it differently. He said President Obama should not have taken the question to Congress but rather simply done it, and with the usual "blow-back" afterward. The positions could not be more different. Watch this site.


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