In response to “Syria in shambles, Congress on Vacation,” by Rebecca Price
By Bethany Wallace
I would like to draw attention to the Editorial: Syria in Shambles, Congress on Vacation. First of all, I realize this article was an opinion, which I respect. However, I would also like to express my disagreement with the author’s opinion concerning U.S. involvement in Syria.
The author states: “This situation is drastically different than the war in Iraq. This is not about oil; this is black and white, life or death. It’s our responsibility as the country with the most means and power in the world to intercede for those who can’t save themselves.”
There were many facts and numbers in this column that I am glad the author pointed out. However, a few of the most important facts about this civil war in Syria were not addressed — such as who is fighting in this war.
On one side there is the Assad regime. President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been killing the civilians of Syria since they expressed their discontentment with the government in April of 2011. Whether the government has used chemical weapons or not, their actions have been nothing short of cruel. What makes the regime seem undefeatable is their allies: Russia, Iran and even China have indicated support.
Fighting the Assad regime, are the rebels. The rebels consist of frustrated civilians, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al-Qaeda militants. Although they are the opposition to a cruel regime, their actions are equally brutal towards innocent men, women and children not directly involved in the war. Both sides are guilty of ruthless murders of innocent civilians.
With this being said, I don’t know how anyone could describe this war as black and white.
If anything, this war is a conundrum. Do we try to help the innocent by bombing the cities they live in, or do we mind our own business and watch as they die anyway? If we do decide to intervene, do we back the president in supporting the rebel cause just to watch them equally mistreat the Syrian civilians as Assad has? To sell arms to the rebels would be putting weapons in the hands of jihadists who cannot be trusted and would likely result in a future civil war (we’ve seen this before in the Afghan civil war in the 90’s). Taking out Assad would result in a power vacuum, which would likely result in another dictatorship or a disorganized unstable government. A ground invasion would ignite more killing, and confusion. An air invasion could get the United States in a war we cannot afford. So tell me again how this war is black and white? The author articulates that what is happening to the Syrian people is absolutely wrong and I couldn’t agree more, but we must be wary of hurting those we are trying to help.
I hope before any crucial decisions and opinions are made, people would examine the details of a situation. It is easy to generalize and categorize current events that are so far away from us. But to truly help, we must take the time to understand the details, culture and history of the people we want to aid.