What action or actions would constitute a valid humanitarian approach to the Syria Conflict? If a response is defined by the parameter of humanitarianism, what actions are and are not permissible?
First, what is humanitarianism? It “pertain[s] to the saving of human lives or to the alleviation of suffering,” as in a humanitarian crisis.* Additional goals are “improv[ing] the welfare and happiness of people.”**
Humanitarianism is thus a broad approach to rectifying human suffering that ranges from simple support, to advocacy, and finally practices in alignment with doctrine, theory, or a set of principles as extreme as temporary centralized control under a benign power.
Too frequently humanitarianism is confused with philanthropy, as though providing financial assistance alone will solve a problem. Humanitarianism is much more than philanthropy because humanitarianism includes the ultimate option of military intervention as necessary to preserve life.
Most recently on 3-13-14, NBC News reported renewed concern by US Senators over the humanitarian plight of Syrians:
<blockquote>Responding to devastating reports on the plight of 5.5 million Syrian children thrown into peril by civil war, 19 U.S. senators have introduced a resolution calling on President Barack Obama to develop and send to Congress “a more robust U.S. strategy for addressing the Syrian humanitarian crisis.”***</blockquote>
As the US Administration assesses its options for Syria, use of the military must be included as a valid option under humanitarian dogma.