There is nothing worse than seeing seemingly helpless individuals being hurt by others — we have heard of such stories across the nation when bullies attack and prey upon innocent people in some sort of twisted power play. Such criminal acts include the recent murders of World War II veteran Delbert “Shorty” Belton, who was beaten to death by two teenagers; and of Australian student Chris Lane, who was shot “for the fun of it” by three teenagers. Most Americans are absolutely appalled by such behavior. Even worse than seeing it, however, is doing nothing to help, should someone have the proper tools to do so. Enter the Syrian civil war.
For two and half years, the Syrian government has been warring with the Syrian rebels, with the regime allegedly having used chemical warfare to kill hundreds of innocent people in the last month. Given such savage and inhumane tactics to gain control, President Barack Obama wants to intervene with limited U.S. strikes on Syria to stop President Bashar al-Assad. But there are a lot of contingencies for this to happen, specifically two very important ones: 1. The United Nations Security Council has to prove that the Syrian government did in fact use chemical weapons since the United Nations won’t approve of any attack unless it is in self-defense. 2. When Congress reconvenes next week, Obama has to get the House and the Senate to approve the strikes. (With such partisan division in Congress, this may prove to be a futile task despite the support of two top Republican leaders, John Boehner, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.)
With troops still in Afghanistan, thousands of American deaths and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the United States’ multitrillion-dollar debt because of those wars, entered in haste due to choices of the Bush Jr. administration and Congress at that time, it is doubtful that the majority of Americans are ready to jump back into the hornets’ nest of civil unrest in the Middle East. But with our strength as a global power, if Obama gets the backing of Congress and the U.N. Security Council, is it in our best interest as Americans to step in? We think so.
Though we have our own crime and poverty issues here in the U.S., which thus far have proved to be almost impossible to solve, leaving a civilian population to fend for itself as a violent regime aims to thwart it, just to sit back and say, “We, the United States, have nothing to offer; we have problems right here that we can’t take care of. Best of luck,” is a genuine cop-out. Our intervention in some capacity is a must. In our efforts to stave off more bloodshed and loss of life, we do, however, need to focus on intervention with diplomacy, gain international support — we shouldn’t do this alone, and to utilize tactics that cause the least harm. While the sense of urgency heightens with news of more than 2 million Syrian refugees having fled the country, plus the mounting death toll, if we rush into this, we will once again be viewed as a trigger-happy, warmongering country that rushes into conflict without the proper evidence or even valid reasons to be there.
We support an intervention. Let’s just not make the same mistakes twice. We urge you to contact your local senators and representatives and voice your opinions — make sure your voice is heard.