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Obama’s attack on Syria won’t save lives

Tyler Smith, Opinion Editor
September 16, 2013
Filed under Opinion, Top Stories

President Obama is dead set on a military strike against Syria’s leader Bashar Assad after alleged chemical weapons were used. However, consequences and prior involvements must be considered.

According to USA Today writer David Jackson, Obama has stated he is confident Assad used chemical weapons that led to the deaths of thousands of innocents, including 400 children.

Assad is unsurprisingly refuting these claims.

“Syria has denied using chemical weapons, attributing an attack Aug. 21 to the rebels themselves,” Jackson said.

However, Los Angeles Times writers Ken Dilanian and Shashank Bengali stated two allies and a main activist group are surprised by the casualty figures Obama presented.

Both Britain and France have cited approximately 281 to 350 casualties, but models were created that could support a figure as high as 1,500 deaths, they said.

“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, generally regarded as one of the most reliable sources of information on casualty figures in Syria, says it has confirmed 502 deaths, including 80 children and 137 women,” Dilanian and Bengali said.

Violence toward innocents is reprehensible, but attacking Syria with this amount of conflicting knowledge is unwise.

There are reasons why certain intel can’t be disclosed due to a blatant need for national security, but the public as a whole isn’t nearly as informed as it should be.

We, as the people of this nation, need to be aware of the situations taking place in the world and the reasons why we have come to discuss attacking another nation.

This is probably not the case in this latest episode of U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

According to New York Times writer David Herszenhorn, Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t see any sensible reason for Assad to have used chemical weapons in the first place.

Putin stated the Syrian government has the upper hand in the civil war and is currently finishing off the rebel forces and therefore, using chemical weapons would only invoke international response, Herszenhorn said. Putin further said that he is not against military action, but he advises against anything without authorization from the United Nations Security Council, Herszenhorn said.

“Mr. Putin said that if there is objective, conclusive proof of the use of chemical weapons, ‘then, there will be a reaction,’” Herszenhorn said. “But he pointedly demanded to know what the United States would do if it turned out that the opposition rather than the Syrian government was to blame.”

Putin raises a very important point. If by some chance this chemical attack did not occur, was somehow staged or if the severity is anything less than claimed, Obama’s decision-making will be on the line.

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee said that the U.S. has also played the role of ally to the Syrian rebels.

The rebels wished to receive further aid in the form of weaponry for fighting back against the Syrian govenment, but the U.S. refused, Lee said.

However, approximately $250 million had been supplied by the U.S. for non-lethal assistance and included defensive items in addition to current food and medical supplies, he said.

If Obama is serious about attacking Syria in any way, he can’t expect Assad to take the hit lightly. Such direct action, for better or worse, is undoubtedly going to draw America into this bloody civil war. I doubt a simple strike will deter Assad or the rebels.

The civilians of Syria are the only victims here, and we are not rushing in to save them, but rather aiding them, and the rebels, from the sidelines. And the consequences of our aid could still mean more innocent blood spilled.

“Obama has called chemical weapons use a red line, and top administration officials argued before the Senate on Tuesday that Assad would take inaction by Washington as a license for further brutality against his people,” Laub and Karam said. “The fighting has killed more than 100,000 Syrians and uprooted nearly 7 million from their homes.”

Furthermore, past policy-making of giving direct aid to the rebels may already be contradicted.

Raf Sanchez, writer for the UK’s The Telegraph, stated that as of June, Obama was willing to provide the rebel opposition with small arms.

On top of this, a unit of 50 U.S. trained men in Jordan was to make its way into Syria, Sanchez said.

This whole situation is a mess, and Obama is diving into it headfirst. First rebels were not supposed to be supplied weapons but now are armed. U.S. involvement was supposed to be minimal but now may lead to direct involvement and being dragged into another nation’s civil war. Rebels have received millions in aid from our nation. And then there are the civilians. No matter what Obama decides, or the rebels or Assad deliver, the civilians of Syria lose.

The stakes are high and a simple bomb drop is not going to bring the dead back or save the lives of the innocent.