More Than Crossing A Red Line

gas3 Warning: The images in this article may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised

The Geneva Protocol was put into place on June 7th, 1925 to put a ban on, “…asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices” and “bacteriological methods of warfare” (Wiki). In the aftermath of WWI, countries across the globe wanted to put an end to the horrors of chemical and biological warfare and for good reason. Chemical attacks were a new horror unseen like anything else before. The agonizing torture and deaths of thousands was seen as a grave crime against humanity. People were permanently scarred, landscapes were devastated, and war was at one point in time as close to hell as it could possibly be.

When you’re almost 7,000 miles away, it’s easy to put the horrors of a war-torn country like Syria into the back of your mind. There’s nothing you can do to make a difference over what is going on. You face real problems that need to be dealt with from day-to-day. News reports show deaths as numbers on an electronic screen. Bits of information irrelevant to our daily lives.

But isn’t this more than that?

Maybe a reminder is in order.

On August 21st 2013, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad released sarin gas outside Damascus killing a disputable number of people ranging from 400-1,400 including little children.

The gas was invented by Nazi scientists in 1938. It attacks the central nervous system with symptoms that include,  “…contracted, pinpoint pupils, foaming at the mouth, muscle rigidity, respiratory difficulty and failure, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness, weakness, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms of nervous system failure” (Ferguson). It’s almost impossible to detect by being odorless, tasteless and invisible. Victims are only aware of the gas once sickness sets in (Ferguson).

I try not to persuade through emotional means so let me try to put it logically.Victims-of-Syrian-gas-attack-3 Should acts such as this perpetrated by the Syrian Regime be tolerated? Should the slaughter of hundreds of innocent people be essentially ignored by the United States government?

That’s all it really comes down to. Because even if we aren’t in a position to intervene right now, even if it’s a bad time, with a bad president and a bad economy acts such as this should never go unpunished.

President Obama and politicians such as John Kerry advocate a military response to Syria while politicians like Sarah Palin do not. I can easily say that I am not normally agreeing with the likes of John Kerry or disagreeing with the likes of Sarah Palin, but I don’t view this as a political conundrum. I see it as a moral one.

I align my trust with someone above politicians, I align it with God. I believe that God has elevated this country as one of the greatest for a purpose and one of those is to serve those in need throughout the international community. Victims-of-Syrian-gas-attack-5Syria is in dire need.

This is different from Iraq.

This is different from Afghanistan.

At some point you need to say enough is enough.

We made the mistake of advocating the Muslim Brotherhood to take responsible charge of the Syrian government.

This is the consequence of such a mistake.

A carefully coordinated, limited, economical strike needs to be implemented against the Syrian Regime. Nothing on the scale of another war. Just a stark reminder that as long as the United States is a world player, acts such as chemical attacks will not be tolerated.

The Geneva Protocol was put into place for good reason, so that crimes such as these may never occur again unpunished. What kind of message are we sending if we remain complacent with allies too cowardly to do the right thing? The right choice is usually not the easier one and it will far harder on our country for intervening than staying out. Though I know that responding will remind other countries that we aren’t a part of the appeasing crowd that the U.S. has slowly been slipping in with last few years.

We areVictims-of-Syrian-gas-attack-4 still willing to put up a fight for humanity even if who we are saving come kicking and screaming. I understand that we are not well liked over there but I don’t care. Letting Syria rip itself apart was tolerable until one side went way too far. They did more than cross a red line, they trampled it.


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Posted on September 1, 2013, in Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I entirely agree. Although I am not religious, I do believe that the responsibility of more powerful nations to protect the citizens of dictatorships is a moral imperative from which we cannot surrender.

  2. “This is different from Iraq.”

    How exactly? Did Saddam not use chemical weapons? Did Saddam not kill hundreds of thousands, including civilians?

    now try to remember the results we got in Iraq. Did our benevolent intervention in Iraq make it better or worse?

    Please tell me why Syria will be different from the example set by Iraq?

    and, for bonus points, tell me how Obama is different from Bush.

    • Let me straighten some things out. Saddam used chemical weapons against his people as far back as the 80’s to which the U.S. didn’t respond. I don’t think we should’ve let that happen. Look at how drawn out his tyrannical reign was as a result of staying quiet when he did atrocious things.

      Do I think the full-scale invasion of Iraq was a mistake? Absolutely. It’s indisputable that the political and military quagmire of operation Iraqi Freedom was a blunder. It wasted tons of money and the country as a whole didn’t really turn out much better than it started. That doesn’t contradict anything I’ve said in the article though. I advocated a LIMITED MILITARY STRIKE against Syria. Not an Iraqi sized deployment and invasion. Obama stated that he’s not considering boots on the ground. “Narrow, limited act.”

      If we struck at Iraq quickly but effectively (enough to put Saddam on the run) than I think it would’ve turned out better.

      As far as how Obama is different from Bush, in the sense of foreign military policy they’re pretty darn similar but his decision of a limited attack you must admit is different from what Bush would most likely do. I doubt Bush would seek Congressional approval.

  3. Well… let me respond starting from the end going back to the beginning.

    Bush did ask for and did receive congressional approval:

    So no difference there.

    We did, under Bush’s dad, George HW Bush, have a quick in-and-out ground war, and under Clinton, purely air power vs Saddam. He continued to commit atrocities, and his people starved, and probably were worse off during the Clinton air-power years than before.

    Before that, under Reagan, was when Saddam used chemical weapons. He did this with the approval and assistance of the CIA. We looked the other way because he used chemical weapons against Iran who was a bigger enemy of ours. Except during the Iran Contra thing. Remember Ollie North and Colin Powell?

    It wasn’t until later that Saddam turned his weapons on his own people (that is, if you don’t count the time when he initially came into power), but we still let it go for more then 10 years. Anyway during the Reagan years, there are all these photo ops of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, and he was our ally and all that.

    Before that, in the 60’s I think, we helped put him in power because he was the meanest most ruthless bastard we could find. It’s been one continuous story of the US simply not giving a rat’s ass about any kind of humanitarian anything. It was all like a big board game for power.

    Each step of the way, things just got worse and worse for the actual people of Iraq. The end was the worst, that’s when the neighborhood-level terrorism started. In 2007 or so, the US Army finally resorted to handing out envelopes full of $100 bills to neighborhood level Al Quaeda guys, as a payment to make them stop blowing things up. They flew in these big shrink-wrapped cubes of money, that they put on pallets and picked up with forklifts, to do this.

    Now fast forward back to Obama. He’s been more or less following Bush’s playbook. 100,000 dead in Syria? Let it go. Now the story changes. I’m pretty sure all his talk of “humanitarian intervention” is utterly phony.

    And every word Kerry says about Chemical weapons makes me think of Colin Powell getting up in front of the UN and showing all these blurry photos of what I later found out were totally generic 1950’s hand-me-down soviet industrial equipment, like boilers and air compressors, which could have been anything. Remember Colin Powell? For some reason the guy had this air of honesty about him, I don’t get it.

    There is indeed a horrible evil taking place in Syria. But we should open our eyes to the whole story, and get to the bottom of it. Thus far, a lot of the time I found out that our own past governments were responsible for starting a lot of it. I think the current round has a lot to do with our alliance with Saudi Arabia… but that’s a conspiracy theory for now.

    Anyway you probably think i’m crazy… Just keep your eyes open, you want to do the right thing. do it with your eyes open.

    The historical precedent is that everywhere the US government goes, every time we step into a bad situation, it gets worse. Even more people die. When we fight fire with fire, everything burns down to the ground.

    • My mistake on the Congressional approval thing. As far as Ollie North and Colin Powell goes my memory doesn’t extend that far back. I’m in college currently and my interest in politics and foreign policy is infantile at best so I’m trying to adjust to the whole bigger picture thing our government has had with Middle Eastern countries. I don’t think you’re crazy, in fact I think you know a whole lot more than I do but it just seems the Syrian situation is different because the country is extremely vulnerable right now more so than Iraq seemed and we actually can make a positive difference with a minimalist approach. But maybe Iraq WAS just as torn apart as Syria if not more. I’m trying to keep my eyes open so if I see that Syria is just another unnecessary bog I’m willing to change my stance. But right now from all the reports I’ve read and from all the testimonials I’ve heard it just seems like Assad is becomingly increasingly malignant. He’s been president for what a mere two years and he’s already captured the attention of the world stage? We need to turn our attention to the Muslim Brotherhood as a whole and stop taking photo-ops of our president shaking their hands. Looking at the history of our foreign policy for the past thirty years all signs point to just letting it go. I just have a hard time accepting that solution. There has to be something palpable we can do. Cutting off aid to countries like Egypt would definitely be a good start but shouldn’t we end the precedent of backing despotic military leaders that are slightly better than terrorist leaders?

      EDIT: Assad has been president since 2000 so that’s 13 years not 2. My apologies.

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