Does Syria demand U.S. military’s attention?
U.S. should step in, oust Syrian leaders
Bethany Harris | Guest Columnist
Syria is in the middle of a conflict within its own borders, and between its own people. The “emergency” government that was established in the 1960s has been in power ever since. In the last decade, there have been many uprisings in an attempt to voice anti-government views, and the majority of these protests have happened in the last year. The military government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, has retained power by using violence.
Freedomhouse.org, an independent organization committed to expanding freedom in the world, gives Syria its lowest ratings on political rights and civil liberties because of the one-party system and the military government’s repression of political views that oppose the current regime. They also state that the government is primarily run by a sect that is only 12 percent of the general population.
So far, attempts for a diplomatic resolution have failed and the Assad regime is still fighting the people in this unofficial civil war. President Obama has threatened U.S. intervention in the conflict if the Syrian government appears ready to use biological or chemical weapons on its citizenry. I would not wait until the mobilization of mass weaponry, though. I believe that the U.S. should take armed action to force Assad and his militaristic leaders out of power and end the bloodshed of civilians.
In my opinion, the Assad regime needs to come to an end and the people of Syria need to elect a government that appropriately represents the general public, unlike the system they have today. While some may argue that the U.S. should stick to domestic issues because it’s “not our problem,” I rebut by saying that it is our duty to help our fellow human beings. Our founding fathers believed in freedom and equality, ideas that the American people still hold dear. Therefore, I believe that Americans need to support the spread of freedom throughout the world, starting with Syria.
Bethany Harris is a junior in political science
Action needed, but not by U.S.
Micah Black | Guest Columnist
Anyone who has seen the international news in the last few months has seen coverage of the atrocities being committed in Syria by Bashar al-Assad … against his own people. The result is a civil war that has killed thousands of civilians and torn the country apart. In addition, refugees are flooding into the neighboring countries of Jordan and Turkey, close to 100,000 so far, while thousands more are expected to flee soon.
I do not believe that the United States should get directly involved militarily, but I do think something needs to be done to fix this situation in Syria. The attacks against the Syrian people are certainly violations of human rights; the refugee crisis has turned it into an international situation, meaning it is no longer a domestic dispute that we could reasonably stay uninvolved with. While direct military action is something we can’t really afford, diplomacy and intervention (even military intervention, if that is what it takes to stop the violence) from international institutions like the United Nations is absolutely necessary right now. If the United States does provide military support toward ending the civil war in Syria, I believe it should be through the U.N.
I don’t believe that it’s always the international community’s responsibility to topple regimes based on ideology alone. However, when regimes start attacking their own people, as al-Assad is, creating humanitarian disasters such a scale as this, then the international community must do something to help. Crises like this can’t be solved through one nation’s intervention, even from the United States, and the international community needs to send a message through Syria that massacres like this will not be tolerated. Further, the regimes that allow it or cause it, will not remain in power for long.
Micah Black is a junior in political science and French