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Stay out of Syria

We all know that America’s military is the most powerful on the planet. Does this give us either a responsibility or a right to act as the policemen of the world?

One year ago, President Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime in Syria … that a ‘red line’ for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons being moved around or being utilized. … There would be enormous consequences.”

The time has come for the president to address his “red line,” because recently hundreds of Syrian civilians were killed in a chemical weapons attack thought to be carried out by Bashar al- Assad, Syria’s president.

Last Saturday, President Obama addressed the nation saying, “As commander-in-chief, I decided that the United States should take military action against the Syrian regime. … I asked members of Congress to debate this issue and vote on authorizing the use of force. … This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan, there would be no American boots on the ground. Any action we take would be limited both in time and scope; designed to deter the Syrian gove rnment from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so. … We are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria.”

Assad sat down for an interview with CBS’s Charlie Rose that aired Monday. When asked what type of repercussions the United States could expect if there was a military attack on Syria, Assad said, “You should expect everything. This is an area where everything is on the brink of explosion.”

A senior Iranian lawmaker commented on the situation saying, “Any military intervention inside Syria would result in a regional war that would not end favorably to the United States or to its allies across the region.”

Needless to say there are grave questions ahead regardless of the United States’ next move. Fortunately, there might not be a next move, based on Tuesday’s news that Syria has tentatively agreed to turn over its chemical weapons. But what did you, the students of Florida Gulf Coast University, have to say on the topic?

Of the more than two dozen people asked, more that 70 percent said we should not take military action against Syria.

“The United States cannot continue to be the policemen of the world; we must first focus on our own debt and national interests,” said Zach Bhame, a sophomore majoring in athletic training.

J u n i o r philosophy major David Piro agrees and said, “There is no incentive to an attack on Syria. No one else is backing us in this decision to attack, and I worry about Russia and what could happen in retaliation to an attack.”

There is clearly strong opposition on our campus to any American intervention in Syria. But there were some students w h o backed the president in his decision to go ahead with military force in Syria . Victoria Armstead, a senior political science major, is in favor of a strike against the Assad regime, but has some reservations.

“The president made statements that if this red line was crossed there would be repercussions against the regime. If Mr. Obama doesn’t go through with it, he would make our nation appear weak. However, if Congress votes no on military force, the president should not take unilateral action against Syria,” Armstead said.

The Socratic Segment agrees with the majority of those students interviewed who do not want intervention in Syria.

My biggest concern is the loss of life that will occur in response to any action the United States takes. Russia, Iran and Syria have all made bold statements that there will be all-out response to any attack whatsoever. Is the president seriously considering this outcome in his choice to respond to the chemical weapons used? If a massive war in the Middle East were to break out because of an attack, the United States would be directly responsible for the loss of life to follow. Are we ready for another war in the Middle East? Hell no.

James is a sophomore majoring in political science. He enjoys bike rides and Florida sunsets.

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