Physicians for Social Responsibility
Sacramento Chapter
December 8, 2015         CONTACT: Bill Durston, MD, President, PSR/Sacramento                                                (916) 202-0567;                                                                 


Bombing Syria Won't Stop Mass Shootings in the USA:
PSR/Sacramento Responds to President Obama's December 6, 2015 Speech

Sacramento, CA--The Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility agrees with several points that President Obama made in his speech of December 6, 2015, concerning the December 2, 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, including:
  • The Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) does not represent the views of the vast majority of Muslims in the USA or the rest of the world, and the San Bernardino mass shooting, although committed by a Muslim couple who may have endorsed the Islamic State ideology, is not cause for discrimination against Muslims in general.
  • It is appropriate for the United States to lead an international effort to enforce a cease fire in Syria and develop a process for diplomatic resolution of the Syrian conflict.
  • Cooperation among intelligence and law enforcement agencies at the international level is an effective means of preventing terrorism.
We believe, though, that the President’s emphasis in his speech on the continued bombing of alleged Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria is not only illogical but counter-effective. Even prior to the U.S. led military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it had been repeatedly shown in conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque region of Spain, Sri Lanka, Israel, and elsewhere that the use of conventional military force against alleged terrorist targets results in high rates of civilian casualties and, rather than suppressing terrorism, provides an effective recruiting tool for terrorist organizations. If President Obama and other U.S. leaders were not aware of this fact before the U.S. led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, they should have learned it by now. Al-Qaeda, from which the Islamic State evolved, had no presence in Iraq prior to the US invasion of that country in 2003, and despite the killing of Osama Bin Laden during President Obama’s presidency and the claim of “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq by his predecessor, President George W. Bush, the threat of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and it’s allies is now as great as ever.
We further believe that President Obama’s proposals to prohibit gun purchases by persons on the terrorist watch list and “to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino” are grossly inadequate measures to prevent further mass shootings in the USA. Whether mass shootings are committed by persons who are affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations or, as occurs far more commonly in the USA, by persons who are acting independently, the tragic result for the victims and their loved ones is the same. As PSR/Sacramento noted in its press release following the Paris terrorist attacks, there is no legitimate civilian use for rapid-fire semiautomatic weapons that are designed for the specific purpose of killing and maiming large numbers of people in a short period of time. The United States should follow the example of Australia in banning the manufacture, importation, sale, and possession of such weapons, including buying back and destroying semi-automatic firearms already in circulation. 
For more information regarding PSR/Sacramento's position on firearm injury prevention and the PSR "SMART Security" platform (Sensible Multilateral American Response to Terrorism), please visit the "Our Work" pages of the PSR/Sacramento website at
Physicians for Social Responsibility/Sacramento
10 Dumfries Court, Sacramento, CA 95831