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Bashar al-Assad is an evil man. There is no disputing that fact. The Syrian dictatorship has an infamous history of cruelty and disregard for those who disagree. The opposition, however, makes up the majority in the country and they have become fed up with their government’s repression of the people. Now, they are fighting back.
In 2011, Assad’s regime began fighting peaceful protests with unusual brutality. They murdered citizens with no sense of remorse and spread their remains for all to see. Assad’s father, who seized control in a coup in the 1970s, implemented the same strategies. Many believe Syria’s current president is following the example set by his father, just not as effectively.
So, why is Syria such a hot topic in United States news? In August of last year, President Obama drew a “red line” which would be crossed if chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime against the opposition. On August 21of this year, 1,400 Syrians were killed, including more than 400 children. This act crossed Obama’s red line.
In recent weeks, the President has retreated from his bold statement from one year ago by saying the he did not draw a red line. “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.” he said, adding, “My credibility is not on the line.” Interestingly enough, Obama and a few in Washington seem to be the only ones across the globe interested in taking military action against the Syrian government.
A more interesting development comes from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration. Russia is Syria’s most valuable ally and, thus, has particular interest in the country’s well being. Putin’s offer follows a speech by Secretary of State John Kerry in which he asserted that Syria could escape Obama’s wrath by turning over their collection of chemical weapons to the international community for destruction. Kerry added that this would not happen. Hours following this remark, Russia offered Assad an opportunity to turn over the weapons and avoid a military strike from the US military.
This brings us to the present. On September 10, the president addressed the nation regarding Syria. In this address, he asked Congress to postpone a vote authorizing military action against the Assad regime. Now he plans to pursue a diplomatic route to remove the weapons. As Laura Ingraham put it, “We have gone from ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’ to ‘Mr. Putin, whatever you think is best.’” It is often argued that President Obama has a tendency to “lead from behind.” IN actuality, leading from behind is called following and following is not how America became the greatest nation on Earth.
It is been misconceived that the President seeks to involve US military forces in the Syrian civil war. The Administration has repetitively described the proposed strike as “unbelievably small.” Their intent is solely to punish Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons.
In preparing for this article, I read multiple perspectives on the proposed action. Gary Chandler sums it up nicely. He asserts that President Obama is telling Assad “You can kill your own people—just don’t use chemical weapons.”
Many argue that the United States has a moral imperative to involve itself in this situation. But what will that solve? How can we expect this “unbelievably small” strike to be effective in accomplishing anything beneficial to the United States? Before America decides which are appropriate ways for governments to kill citizens overseas, we must first address our moral obligation to protect life here at home. This includes the four brave Americans who lost their lives in the terrorist attack in Benghazi one year ago as well as the millions of unborn children that are deprived of life in America each year.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily those of The Edgefield Advertiser.