OURVIEW: recent strikes on Syria indicative of typical American dismissal of foreign aid

Each week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week’s editorial board is composed of Viewpoints Editor Lauren Sanchez and writer Collin Mims

We’ve been hearing a lot in the news recently about Syrian refugees, you know, the people who are living in a civil war-torn nation and are currently dealing with the repercussions of their political leaders. One would hope then that any developments concerning U.S./Syria relationships would involve offering sanctuary to these refugees. Maybe the U.S. would be adjusting policies to allow refugees easier access into the country. Maybe the U.S. would be taking action to help protect innocent people. Maybe the United States would be taking a moment to reconcile the years of manipulation and harm it’s done to the nations in West Asia.

Unfortunately, that’s a pipe dream. What really happened is as American as it gets: in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons against citizens, the U.S. ordered airstrikes to target Damascus and two other sites. America was not alone in these actions, as both the United Kingdom and France struck against the three specified sites in Syria, but we don’t live in those nations, so let’s focus on America’s actions, particularly looking at how attacking a nation is not the same as protecting its people.

If someone has the flu, stabbing them in the gut a couple times doesn’t “cure” them, but that’s still the plan the U.S, has for “helping” Syria. How could a couple of, supposedly, well placed airstrikes help the people of Syria? If anything, these airstrikes do more harm than good for Syrians.

These airstrikes kill innocent people and level cities, only creating more instability within the country. In fact, a New York Times article from June 2017 discussed attacks on Syria and Iraq and the fact that the United States Central Command revealed there had been over 484 civilian deaths in the Middle East due to drone strikes. However a watchdog group, Airwars, says that of the 14,202 strikes in Iraq and the 15,021 strikes in Syria, there have been 6,259 civilian deaths.

Of course, this hasn’t all been Trump, the U.S. was conducting air strikes during the Obama administration as well to combat ISIS. This means this isn’t necessarily an issue of Democrats vs. Republicans or conservatism vs. liberalism. This is a bipartisan, all-American issue that concerns America’s prioritization of violence over aid in regards to our foreign policy. There are more conducive ways to giving these foreign countries aid that don’t involve airstrikes. We as a nation need to reconsider how we interact with other nations and their people, and the message that these interactions send.

The leaders of all three nations considered these strikes to be a success, but to what end? At the end of the day, the Syrian people are still suffering; are still being hurt. It’s socially irresponsible for us to be willing to destroy without being equally willing to help rebuild or to shelter the people who are caught in the crossfire. Destruction may not be new to the people of Syria, but we don’t have to contribute to it. Instead, consider contributing to services which help provide aid to those coping with the war. Our government may be a part of the problem, but we the people can be a part of the solution.

Here are some organizations offering aid to Syria: 12345