by Hana Beach
President Obama made the right choice asking for Congressional approval of his announced plans of a unilateral military strike against Syria for their use of chemical weapons. This decision has led to intense public debate as to whether or not the US should intervene in Syria.
The congressional vote and the actions that follow will define the west’s place in the world. The world is watching. America’s allies and foes will shape their behavior around the actions and expectations that this crisis implements. For this reason, it is vital for America not only to act, but act for the right reasons.
It is important that the public is aware that Syria is not Iraq. The evidence that Assad’s regime has committed atrocities against its people is clear beyond doubt. Even if Assad launches chemical warfare against his own citizens after the American strike, Obama is not willing to go into Syria.
Using military force in Syria will reaffirm western values. A writer for the Economist said that “Bush tainted America with his inept invasion, prisoner abuse, and imperial overstretch.” Syria offers America the ability to rebuild its moral authority in the world. By responding to Assad’s atrocities with the correct amount of force, the US will show the world that it not only draws its strength from its ability to use force, but also from the enduring appeal of the values that our founders instilled.
It may seem unjust that the deaths of the few hundred killed in the chemical attacks demand a greater response than the lives of the 100,000 killed in the Syrian civil war over the past 2 years. However, chemical weapons are extremely barbaric. By ignoring the injustices committed against the innocent civilians of Syria, the US would be opening up the world to a dystopic future where the use of chemical warfare is condoned.
Obama drew the “red line” last year, and Syrian President Assad crossed it. Obama responded inadequately and indecisively against the Assad regime’s clear disregard for the threats that the Obama administration made. The indecisiveness and willingness to stay out of Syria by the west has only emboldened Assad’s use of chemical warfare. Obama has already mentioned a similar “red line” regarding nuclear weapons in Iran. Ignoring Syria would tell countries like Iran and North Korea that use of weapons of mass destruction would receive no response from the West.
Of course, the US must be careful when taking military action against Syria. We do not want to become entangled in the complicated and complex mess of the Syrian Civil War. We also do not want to see Syria become a failed state brimming with Jihadists. Obama has already assured the world that his goal is not regime change, but to deter Assad from using chemical warfare against his own people.
The world assumes some responsibility for the latest chemical attack as well as the 100,000 lives lost in the civil war during the past 2 years. Not only has the US waited too long to enter Syria, but so have our western allies. Assad has faced no repercussion for using chemical warfare against his own people, and he should be showed that slaughtering his own civilians will lead to his downfall.
Indignation is not enough of a response from the US. We have seen children suffocate in agony, and bodies pile up. The west needs to come to the aid of the oppressed and help those who died in this uniquely barbaric fashion. By allowing these tragedies to occur, the US will see a future Syria that is divided in blood, and resentful of the horrific tragedies against its people that the western world condoned.