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What do you think the United States should do about Syria?

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Posted by on Sep. 3, 2013 at 8:13 AM
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How to Figure Out in a Few Minutes What's Happening in Syria

by Lindsay Ferrier

FlickrIf we as a nation are talking too much about MILEY and not enough about SYRIA, I suspect it's because most of us don't really understand what's going on in Syria right now, or why -- and we're too embarrassed to admit it.

Fortunately, my friends, there's help!

My Facebook friends all have been sharing one particular blog post on Syria -- and I finally read it over the weekend. It is brilliant. It explains in a nutshell what's happening in Syria and why it MIGHT be a good idea for the United States to intervene.

The post was written by Washington Post Foreign Affairs Max Fisher. In it, he covers 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask.

It's important to note (this is the Washington Post, after all) that Fisher is obviously in favor of missile strikes. His rationale:

Both sides of any conflict, not to mention civilians everywhere, are better off if neither of them uses chemical weapons. But that requires believing that your opponent will never use them, no matter what. And the only way to do that, short of removing them from the planet entirely, is for everyone to just agree in advance to never use them and to really mean it. That becomes much harder if the norm is weakened because someone like Assad got away with it. It becomes a bit easier if everyone believes using chemical weapons will cost you a few inbound U.S. cruise missiles.

But Fisher also does a good job of explaining Syria's civil war, how it happened, and why there's no hope of it ending any time soon, no matter what the United States does or doesn't do.

It also explains Russia's involvement, as well as the reason why the US doesn't have United Nations approval for missile strikes on Syria.

Essentially, you can spend ten minutes reading this post and discourse knowledgeably on the subject at work or at your next dinner party. You can also explain it to your kids.

For a different point of view, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation has a number of posts up about Syria. Middle East expert James Phillips says President Obama will have a tough job getting Congress to approve the missile strikes:

To gain congressional authorization, the President must clearly articulate U.S. national interests in Syria and explain how these interests will be advanced. The President today restated his determination to enforce international norms against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. But there are many norms being violated in Syria on a daily basis: the use of tanks, artillery, SCUD missiles, and warplanes against civilian targets, to name a few.

The President must convince Congress why enforcing his chemical weapons “red line” is so important to advancing U.S. national interests, rather than merely useful for enforcing “international norms”—to which much of the rest of the world appears to have turned a blind eye. Symbolic, feel-good military gambits will accomplish little.

The President also must convince Congress that he has a coherent long-term strategy that will be advanced by military action in Syria.

There's certainly a lot to think about here.

Now that you've read the background and facts, what do you think the United States should do about Syria? Is it better for us to stay out of it, or should we send a clear message that chemical weapons will not be tolerated?

by on Sep. 3, 2013 at 8:13 AM
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Replies (1-10):
SyllabaryBisque
by Bronze Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 8:15 AM
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I think we need to stay out of it. We have enough problems at home to deal with. If I thought that any course of action would stop mindless killing of innocent people, I would feel differently, but that's not going to happen.

snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 8:27 AM
3 moms liked this

Obama has been backed into a corner by his own words.  He's already seen as weak and any backdown at this point will only make matters worse for the U.S.

The question that doesn't seem to be asked is why would any self respecting dictator gas his own people when the UN investigators are on the ground

There was no discernible reason for Assad to do this. The guy is a cruel person, but he's not irrationally so.

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 9:01 AM
3 moms liked this

 Considering Obama's record in places like Egypt and Libya?  We need to stay out of it.

 

MsDenuninani
by Silver Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM
1 mom liked this

For me, this is the key:

The President must convince Congress why enforcing his chemical weapons “red line” is so important to advancing U.S. national interests.

At this point, I am not convinced that our national interests are really at play, especially not enough to go in there without a coalition. He's failed to convince me - but I won't be seeing everything that Congress will.

Ultimately, I'm relieved he's decided to take it to Congress - I want two branches of government held responsible for whatever it is that we decide to do, not just one.

smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Boehner has thrown his support behind Obama. Looks like we're going to war again. 

lga1965
by on Sep. 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM
2 moms liked this

 I think that no matter what the President does, he will be blamed and cursed. He is waiting for Congress to approve an air strike. That is good---it was stressed over and over that any Presient must get permission.

If he doesn't order an air strike, he will be called "weak". If he does " he is a war monger". It doesn't matter what he does about anything---certain people will say he is wrong.

I don't think we should go into Syria and start a new war--and you know that is what will result: a new war,lasting years and killing innocent people in Syria and OUR military.

Anna92464
by on Sep. 3, 2013 at 12:18 PM
2 moms liked this

I think the bottom line is there is nothing we CAN do about Syria.  Attacking accompishes nothing.

kaylamom2004
by Bronze Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 12:35 PM
1 mom liked this

I believe that military intervention will only harm the Syrian people further and will do absolutely no good.  I think the U.S. should stay out of it. 

KenneMaw
by Bronze Member on Sep. 3, 2013 at 1:21 PM

That is a great article.   I totally agree that the US cannot solve or even make a dent in regards to the problems in Syria but it could create more trouble for the US.  Everyone in the world, even China and Russia, can agree that chemical weaposn are bad, but at this point, neither the UN or US intelligence can say, with 100% certainity, who launched the chemical weapons.     We need to step back and if the Middle EAst and their allies call us cowards, then so bit it.  

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