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Charlotte protest opposes possible U.S. attack on Syria

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/08/31/17/47/2qlhV.Em.138.jpeg|237
    - Elisabeth Arriero - earriero@charlotteobserver.com
    Dozens of Charlotte area residents protested possible U.S. involvement in Syria Saturday at the Square.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/08/31/17/47/11FCPL.Em.138.jpeg|421
    - Elisabeth Arriero - earriero@charlotteobserver.com
    Dozens of Charlotte area residents protested possible U.S. involvement in Syria Saturday at the Square.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/08/31/17/47/1fgiht.Em.138.jpeg|237
    - Elisabeth Arriero - earriero@charlotteobserver.com
    Dozens of Charlotte area residents protested possible U.S. involvement in Syria Saturday at the Square.

Ali Morris worries that Syria could become the United States’ next Iraq if President Barack Obama launches a military response to alleged chemical attacks there.

“I was in the 4th grade when 9/11 happened, and I see what war propaganda can do and what wars actually do,” said Morris, 22, at a Charlotte protest against U.S. military intervention in Syria.

He was one of dozens of Charlotte area residents who demonstrated Saturday at Trade and Tryon streets uptown.

Phillip Woods, 27, of Charlotte, organized the protest at the corner of Trade and Tryon streets. More than 2,000 people were invited, although about 60 ultimately participated, he said.

Woods said he’s concerned about U.S. plans for “limited strikes.” That “usually means drone attacks,” he said, “and as we’ve seen in Pakistan, that results in a lot of collateral damage and civilians killed.

“It may be clean for us, but it’s not necessarily clean for Syria,” Woods said.

Lauryn Jacobs, 23, said the U.S. has enough to worry about without meddling in international affairs.

“We’re doing something that isn’t really our business,” she said. “We should focus on ending the wars we’ve already started instead of starting another one.”

Morris said he worries that U.S. military action could ultimately make Syria’s civil war worse and result in even more causalities.

Gastonia resident Stevette Craig, 43, acknowledged that it’s a basic human obligation to help those in need, but she questioned the country’s timing in getting involved with Syria’s civil war.

“Why now? These killings have been going on for a while,” she said.

Craig added that she didn’t believe there was sufficient proof that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons – a primary reason cited by U.S. leaders for a possible military response.

Amir Behdani, 34, of Charlotte, said he was encouraged that Obama announced on Saturday that while he would seek limited attacks on Syria, he would first get the approval from members of Congress.

“Hopefully they will be smart enough to not take the United States into what could become a World War III,” Behdani said.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero
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