Questions remain after Kerry's announcement regarding Syria
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2013 18:09
Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement Monday regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria leaves little doubt the United States will react to this development with military force. However, it remains unclear how Congress and the Obama administration will attempt to subdue the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The specific means the United States will employ to combat the use of chemical weapons in Syria is one piece of uncertainty surrounded by a slew of others. From the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the American debate surrounding this matter of foreign policy has been rife with questions, but devoid of solutions.
Some questions are about Syrians: Who are the insurgents? Would they rule democratically? How do we really know what the Syrian people want?
Others are about us: Why does the United States have to act as the world police force? Haven’t we spent enough time, resources and lives fighting the Middle East’s battles? Shouldn’t we focus on our problems here at home?
These questions are mute in the face imagery released from Syria.
In his statement, Kerry recalled a photograph he considered most compelling. He said, “As a father, I can’t get the image out of my head of a man who held up his dead child, wailing while chaos swirled around him, the images of entire families dead in their beds without a drop of blood or even a visible wound, bodies contorting in spasms, human suffering that we can never ignore or forget.”
We may not know the true motives of the insurgents and we do not know if they plan to rule in a method Westerners find appealing. What we do know is the Syrian regime has unleashed weapons of unspeakable harm on its own citizens. That one, indisputable fact ought to be enough to compel any government official towards a swift course of action.
As Americans, we have the duty and the right to question our role in world affairs. There are many foreign policy decisions we look back to with regret. There are also those that elicit a sense of pride and patriotism.
Different groups of people judge the same foreign policy events in vastly different lights. We have an identity crisis at hand, but that is a pitiful excuse for being on the wrong side of history.
The Syrian government has illustrated it will not be deterred by the finger wagging of the international community. Had Bashar al-Assad been intimidated by the words of the Western world, he would have stopped short of killing and maiming his fellow Syrians.
American involvement in Syria need not be an exercise in nation building, but rather a display of mercy. United States’ weaponry and expertise are the tools most suited for bringing an end to pain of the Syrian people. The question we, as citizens, do not want to be asking ourselves ten years from now is why we stood by and allowed Syrians to be ruthlessly attacked by their own government.