Filipino war veterans add voices to 'No strike in Syria'

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Sep 11 2013 02:46 PM | Updated as of Sep 11 2013 10:46 PM

SAN FRANCISCO-Dozens of Filipino World War II veterans and their advocates rallied in front of Senator Diane Feinstein’s office along Post Street in San Francisco armed with a message: "No strike in Syria!"

"We demand that Senator Feinstein stops acting like a cheerleader for President Barack Obama, who is pushing for an illegal and immoral war," said Ago Pedalizo, coordinator for the Justice for Filipino-American Veterans (JFAV).

Similar actions were also held in Los Angeles, Honolulu, New York, Chicago and Maryland.

The veterans sent Feinstein a letter, telling her that the role of soldiers is to defend America, not attack and wage an aggressive strike that could hurt civilians.

And besides, they said, there is no strong evidence that proves Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad did order the use of chemical weapons against his own people.

"Hindi dapat makilahok. Hindi dapat na maging matigas si presidente Obama na lusubin ang Syria," said war veteran Aquilino Delen.

Even with a promise of no boots on the grounds, the veterans said any aggressive war remains unconscionable.

They said, time and again, Feinsein has refused to support the Filipino veterans fight for full benefits. Instead of spending millions on a strike in Syria, they said the US government should instead focus its resources on taking care of its veterans who fought legitimate wars.

"Going to war in Syria this will cause America a lot of money when there's so much expenditure waiting for that money here in America especially the veterans," said Regalado Baldonado, another veteran.

The United States has not endorsed any military strike in Syria, citing its provision that makes it illegal to attack another country except in the case of self-defense.

President Obama has a lot of convincing to do in Congress. To date, 25 senators favor the strike in Syria while 18 do not. In the house, 40 support it while 153 are against it.