This article was previously published on, my other blog. The target audience was my Facebook feed.

I shouldn’t need to preface this post, but I think I do.

What happened in Paris is terrible. People killing people is an awful, awful thing. No matter the circumstances a person is pushed to, I wish that no one would choose to kill another human being.

Okay. In case you forget or start to get mad at me, just scroll back up and read that. I’m not a monster. I don’t want people to die. And there is no excuse for killing someone else.

I’ve seen a lot of focus on understanding the war in Syria and I applaud the effort, I am trying to do the same. I’ve seen this Ezra Klein video posted a number of times. And as far as I can tell, it seems relatively accurate, as far as who is backing who and why it’s gotten convoluted and all that. However, the question that isn’t addressed in the video and the one that should be asked to help us understand the attacks in Paris, is why the war is spreading beyond the borders of Syria? Why, if all the enemies are supposedly in and around Syria, was an attack made on Parisians? Are they just lashing out? I don’t think so.

The first place to look would be to the group behind the attacks. A part of the answer can be found in a statement made over the weekend before the attacks happened. It should be noted that the statement came on the heels of bombings in Syria by the French government that same weekend before the attacks in Paris:

Let France and all nations following its path know that they will continue to be at the top of the target list for the Islamic State and that the scent of death will not leave their nostrils as long as they partake in the crusader campaign, as long as they dare to curse our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), and as long as they boast about their war against Islam in France and their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets, which were of no avail to them in the filthy streets and alleys of Paris. Indeed, this is just the beginning. It is also a warning for any who wish to take heed.

I repeat – this does not absolve the killing of Parisians. They should not have killed people. But it wasn’t random. It wasn’t just anger or hatred alone. It was a result of the French government bombing Syrians. And you know how bombs work. They aren’t targeted. They can’t be controlled. The point is “collateral damage.” Otherwise known as the bloody violent killing of innocent men, women, and babies.

And France isn’t doing this alone. They are doing this with the US government, more likely FOR the US government. You saw the Ezra Klein video – the US is backing multiple factions. What you didn’t see was that it’s not just money. It’s not just moral support. It’s guns, ammunition, bombs, and American citizens. The US government has done the same and worse to citizens of other countries in the Middle East. The US is one of the groups creating refugees across the Middle East. The US is at the center of the refugee crisis.

I’ve seen a lot of despair. How do we end the violence? How do we stop innocent people, countries away from a war, from getting killed? How do we help the refugees?

First, we can stop killing the Syrians ourselves. Right now the US is supporting multiple sides of multiple wars and is droning and bombing civilians in countries in the Middle East, including Syria. It is horrible, what happened in Paris. It is just as horrible as what the powerful governments of the world are doing in these countries. The citizens of the Middle East can’t stop from getting bombed any more than the citizens of Paris could stop from getting killed. They can’t stop the insane rebels and terrorists and other violent groups from attacking Paris or other civilians either. But we can do something. We have the upper hand. We can back out. We can stop killing innocents and creating the sort of despair that leads to joining insanely violent groups. We can stop backing any and all sides. We can walk away. And then we can open our doors and show love and safety to the refugees.

The wars that are going on in the Middle East are complicated, that fact cannot be denied. But killing people or even supporting those that are killing people will not help resolve the conflicts. The terrorist organizations thrive on hatred and division – they have told us as much since before 9/11.

What can we do? How can we help the innocent civilians of the Middle East? How can we help the innocent civilians of France? How can we stop the killing of innocent civilians everywhere? We have to demand an end to the US foreign policy that leads to this type of catastrophic blow back. We have to demand an end to military intervention. It is your money, it is your government. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people, right? So demand an end to your tax dollars going towards these wars. Vote for those who run on a policy of non-intervention. Or don’t vote because I have yet to hear of a presidential candidate running on a policy of peace. Spread the word about what the US is actually doing in other countries, not just what our leaders are saying we’re doing. Educate yourself and share what you learn with others: Antiwar.comFuture of Freedom FoundationMondoweissThe Scott Horton ShowDying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism

If we are the US government then we are guilty of killing thousands of innocent people. And if we are the US government, then we can also stop it.