Hilltop Views

Obama to make mistake by intervening in the Syrian conflict

Staff Writer

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The Syrian civil war has been going on for over two years, but the conflict escalated exponentially on Aug. 21 with an apparent chemical attack on a suburb of Damascus, the nation’s capital. According to BBC, the United States estimates the attack’s death toll to be 1,429, including 426 children.

President Obama is currently waiting for Congress to approve a U.S. strike against targets of Syria’s ruling Assad regime. The Obama administration’s current push for lawmakers to approve such an attack begs the following questions: “What would a U.S. strike against Assad’s forces mean for America?” More importantly, “is such a strike warranted and necessary?”

To answer the first question, it would be beneficial to look at several key instances of U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

One of the first major instances of U.S. intervention in the affairs of a Middle Eastern country was Operation Cyclone, a CIA program in which America supplied anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan with weapons that eventually fell into the hands of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida; clearly, this intervention proved detrimental to the U.S. in the long term.

While the first Gulf War was detrimental to the U.S. in terms of loss of life and economic statistics, it also generated long-term anti-American sentiments in the Middle East that arguably led to the proliferation of terror cells and, ultimately, the tragic 9/11 attacks.

Most recently, the U.S. debacle in Iraq was based on faulty intelligence and a President George W. Bush’s relentless pursuit to avenge his father after Saddam Hussein’s attempted assassination of him during the first Gulf War. The Iraq War has led to the massacre of countless innocent Iraqi people, the loss of thousands of U.S. lives, and the destabilization of an entire government.

However, many argue that the current situation in Syria is fundamentally different from the situation in Iraq because of clear evidence of foul play on the part of Assad. 

A thorough examination of our history of intervention in the Middle East reveals that the traditional role of America as “global policeman” is highly detrimental to the country in terms of every reasonable metric: economic, loss of civilian and military life, foreign perception of the U.S. and environmental impact. Any U.S. military intervention in Syria would undoubtedly be a disaster.

This view is echoed by many St. Edward’s students. “We already have our toes in too many pools,” said sophomore Cody Matthes.

Matthes went on to point out “how volatile the global situation has become since the Arab Spring” and suggest that the United States offer “support of [a nonmilitary] nature: peaceable, friendly aid” in the form of “asylum for those who are trying to get away from [the conflict in Syria],” because “human rights are global issues.”

While Assad, the infamously weak-chinned dictator of Syria, has committed terrible atrocities against his own people, America has no business intervening and making an unfortunate situation worse for all involved.

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Obama to make mistake by intervening in the Syrian conflict