The next couple of weeks could very well define how President Obama’s presidency is remembered.
Congress will be voting on whether or not the United States should get directly involved with the civil war in Syria, specifically with a missile strike on Syrian President Assad, who is believed to have used chemical weapons on civilians. Despite a majority of Americans being against such involvement, President Obama plans to push Congress into voting in favor of the missile strikes. According to a poll by ABC News, nearly six out of 10 Americans are against the missile strikes, making this a potentially very unpopular move.
For those of you who aren’t completely aware of the conflict in Syria, Syria is suffering from a civil war with Syrian rebels fighting against the country’s dictatorship. President Assad has been incredibly brutal toward his people and now he is accused of using chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are against the Geneva Convention and therefore are a serious offense.
While there most definitely needs to be consequences for Assad’s actions and a strong United Nations response, this editorial board believes that the United States using missile strikes against Assad is not the proper reaction, and could lead to disaster. The risks of such a move are great, and there will be little to no benefit resulting from them.
Whenever missile strikes are used, civilian casualties almost always ensue. The people of Syria have endured much from their government and have suffered enough loss of lives. The United States doesn’t need to add to that death toll in an effort to help them. Although these missile strikes are designed to limit civilian casualties as much as possible, there doesn’t seem to be much concern in potentially harming the people that need help. Even if it is to send the important message of never using chemical weapons.
It’s also worth questioning what Assad’s retaliation would be if the United States used missile strikes against him. Using such force against Assad might anger him even more, which would result in him killing even more civilians. In fact, it’s even possible that he will continue to use chemical weapons just to spite the United States.
There’s also the worry that there might be retaliation against the United States. This wouldn’t necessarily mean a direct attack on U.S. soil, but could involve an attack on a U.S. embassy or U.S. travelers. CBS News recently released a report about possible revenge against the United States should a missile strike occur.
“An Iranian order intercepted by the United States instructs Shiite militia groups in Iraq to attack the American Embassy in Baghdad should the U.S. strike Syria,” CBS News reported.
This seems to indicate that such an action would most likely occur, further supporting the notion that missile strikes against Syria shouldn’t happen.
It is also very unlikely that the United States could simply order an attack of that magnitude and then cease involvement with the situation. If such an attack were to occur, the United States could be dragged even further into the civil war, and therefore be forced to spend millions of dollars more. On top of that, Russia is a huge supporter of the current Syrian government, and any action taken by the United States against them would further strain relationships with them. The United States doesn’t need another conflict with another country and it would only make the image of our country in that region worse.
Action certainly does need to be taken against Assad and his use of chemical weapons. However, missile strikes and further violence is not the right action. If the United States truly wants to help, it would do so by condemning the actions of Assad and supporting the refugees who have lost their homes and are currently living in refugee camps.
What is happening in Syria is a true tragedy, but missile strikes by the United States will only make the situation worse. President Obama even admitted that the people of the United States were against such an action.
“It’s conceivable that at the end of the day, I don’t persuade a majority of the American people that it’s the right thing to do,” the president stated.
This editorial board genuinely hopes President Obama listens to the American people, for they are speaking reason.