Editorial: War in Syria could become war in America

SarahBeth Davis, Perspectives writer

The United States could possibly start a war in Syria, due to their recent use of chemical weapons. Chemical warfare, the use of toxic chemicals to cause harm or death, is one of the cruelest means of attack; however, it does not warrant martial action.

On August 21, a chemical attack was launched on the people of Syria. Approximately 1,400 people were killed, mainly civilians, including 400 children. On September 16, United Nations officials confirmed this to be the result of the use of sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent. According to the Center for Disease Control, Some of the symptoms of sarin poisoning include paralysis, respiratory failure, seizures, and loss of consciousness. An attack of this sort, especially on common people and children, is terrible and immoral. The Chemical Warfare Convention of 1993 deems the production of such means to be illegal under customary international law.

This recent use of chemical weaponry was due to the ongoing civil war between rebel forces and Syria’s government, led by President Bashar al-Assad. The United States government believes Assad’s forces are responsible for the use of such weaponry and is demanding the chemical weapons in Syria be surrendered to international control. Assad denies this, claiming the rebels are to blame for the attacks. Chemical weaponry should not be deployed by either side, but especially by an official government. While militant action should not be taken, the use of chemical weapons is utterly intolerable.

President Obama wishes to conduct a military strike, but reassures that this will not turn into a war as it had in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria,” said Obama, in an address of the issue. He claims a strike on Syria will send a message to the Syrian government to oppose what they’ve done. The president also claims that Assad does not have the power to retaliate, and thereby start a war. Regardless of Assad’s power and supplies, a strike on Syria from the United States is a poor course of action. Though Obama is commander-in-chief, he must seek Congressional approval before conducting a movement like this. Congress is not likely to approve the missive. However, Obama has asked Congress to postpone this decision, due to Russia’s involvement in Syria.

Russia is one of the strongest allies of Assad and the Syrian government, along with one of their largest arms suppliers. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, opposes the United State’s involvement in Syria. Putin, in an initiative wrote that this embroilment “could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.” Currently, Russia and the United States are working on a more diplomatic approach to the situation.

The Syrian Civil War has been officially underway since 2011, but there had been political unrest far beforehand. According to the United Nations, the death toll passed 100,000 this year. The ongoing war is an effort to end the reign of the Assad line, which has been in presidency since 1971. The Syrian troops have committed war crimes such as unlawful killing, sexual violence, murder, torture, and debatably chemical warfare.

The United States and France (the previously involved United Kingdom has pulled their support from the issue) are currently trying to reach an agreement with Russia and Syria on the chemical weapons. Though the use of chemical weaponry is intolerable, cruel and unjust, it is not the United State’s place to become involved. If, as Obama proposed, the United States conducted a military strike on Syria, and Assad was to strike back, we could easily be at war. A war between the United States and Syria would spark up conflict with the allies of both sides as well, France and Russia. This is to say, a strike on Syria could ignite what could become a world war. A war against Syria, or against Russia for that matter, would be a tragedy for the nation and for the people. American boots should not be put on Syrian ground. A diplomatic and reasonable solution should be reached, and military involvement should be avoided at nearly all costs.