Syria: An opinion from Nebraska

syriaBy John Andrews-UNL Lecturer

Whether or not the U.S. should attack Syria is now going before Congress. A common statement during the last several days is Iraq looms heavy in the minds of people.

I was against the U.S. invading Iraq for two reasons. First, there was no evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11. Second, the Bush Administration presented no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The current issue of Syria is a totally different situation than Iraq.

The reason for military intervention is based on the substantiated fact that Syria has broken international law by using chemical weapons. As a world leader, the U.S. has a responsibility to respond to this violation in order to keep it from happening again. The U.S. is already being supported by the President of France and other Arab nations, with Saudi Arabia being the most notable supporter of U.S. intervention.

I believe we also have a moral obligation to act. I have been in support of U.S. intervention for more than a year. I am in support of intervention beyond the presently stated goal of sending a message that chemical weapons should not be used by the use of surgical strikes without committing ground troops. At least, we can stop the use of chemical weapons that result in horrible deaths, that are much worse than being killed by bullets or bombs.

I have wondered if much of the resistance to U.S. involvement is because of Islamaphobia. Then a week or so ago I heard Senator Rand Paul frame the issue in Syria as Muslims against Christians, which showed me that my question has validity. Framing this issue as being sectarian ignores the teaching of Christianity, which tells Christians that all people are our neighbors. Therefore, it is unchristian to frame this issue as us versus them. As a world leader, we have a moral obligation to respond to Syria’s use of chemical weapons.



  1. B2 says:

    First of all, it is a well documented fact that Saddam Hussein also gassed Iraqis (Kurds in the North). Secondly, intel clearly supported the claim that WMD’s were in Iraq which led to bi-partisan support for the removal of Sadam (The Iraqi-Liberation Act passed by the Clinton Admin). Many believe these same WMD’s were moved from Iraq to Syria and are the very same being used by Syria today. If we have a moral obligation to act then clearly the objective of protecting innocent civillians from chemical attacks can’t be successfully achieved by dropping a bunch of bombs on the country. It likely would take boots on the ground, as we don’t want to offer support to the rebels who are also engaged in human rights violations. Lastly, regarding Rand Paul’s statement about the conflict being Muslim vs. Christian, you are taking his statement out of context. Clearly Christians are being targeted by Muslim extremists. Churches are burned, priests beheaded, and families slaughtered simply for being Christian. This is a fact, no framing needed. Paul did not state that as Christians we should oppose or refuse to support Muslims (which you are attempting to mislead readers into believing). He simply stated the facts. Christians are being attacked by Muslims simply because of their faith. As for your “moral obligation” argument. I tend to agree that if we have the ability to stop severe human rights violations, we have an obligation to do so. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing. I just don’t believe the current strategy achieves such a goal. I also have serious concerns about the rationales we are being offered for war. You state that we have the support of the Saudis as if it justifies our decision to drop bombs on Syria. Ask yourself…what does Saudi Arabia stand to gain? I think you know the answer is…quite a bit!!!

  2. ProgressiveOasis says:

    Let’s summarize the situation in Syria, we have differing Islamic/tribal factions engaged in a “civil” war that has already killed over 100,000 people using “conventional” weapons. All sides in the conflict hate only one thing more than each other and that is the Christian democratic republic of the United States. Here’s a bold strategy, let them kill each other using whatever means they choose and then, when one side “wins”, we kill anyone who is left alive and armed. The learned lecturer clearly misstates the fundamental nature of Islam versus the rest of the non-Islamic world. These military conflicts between the various Islamic sects should be encouraged at every opportunity. The more of themselves they kill, the better. Our only related interest should be to provide “cover” for any Christian/Jewish populations caught in the crossfire…by delivering punishment on the order of 100 Islamics for every 1 Christian…maybe make it 1,000 Islamics since they are all in a hurry to meet Allah anyway.

  3. dan brandt says:

    A point is not validated just because one Senator makes a statement. In fact, the vast majority of reports being written describe the combatants as Sunni against Shiite (Ala-white) Muslims. Christians are a by-product of the larger conflict. The Bible tells us that the purpose of government is to punish evil and reward good. However, this does not make military retaliation a Christian action anymore than euthanasia is a Christian action for reliving the suffering of someone. Morality is now relative to who is determining it at any given time. To state it is a moral imperative to take military action that will cost innocent lives is not a moral imperative. It is a mutually exclusive conundrum that has no righteous justification. If you want to punish evil and believe that the government is responsible, then it is the people of the government who made the decision and only them who need to punished. Yet our “morals” will not allow us to assassinate another country’s leader. So much for morals, justice and an appropriate response that is justified by the actions being punished.

  4. Drew says:

    Taking down Saddam was more than just WMD. Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act naming 10 reasons for such regime change. Foremost, Iraq attacked our trading partner Kuwait and the containment policy of Iraq had failed as 9/11 proved. This made the removal of Saddam as necessity.
    None of these situations present themselves in Syria. We have no justifiable reason to get involved in another country’s civil war particularly when we have no one to side with.

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