War in Syria: repeating past mistakes

By AJ Edwards

Congress remains split on a vote to authorize President Barack Obama with the use of military force to intervene in Syria.

Despite strong opposition, Obama has asked Congress to consider military strikes against Syria after its president, Bashar al-Assad, allegedly used chemical weapons on innocent Syrians.

According to USA Today, Congress is undecided on whether a retaliation strike is the proper action to take in Syria. Obama said intervening ould not repeat what happened in Iraq or Afghanistan because he does not want to put “boots on the ground” in Syria.

Either way, military intervention in Syria is the last thing America needs to get involved in.

If we involve ourselves in military action in Syria we might as well relive the last 12 years. There will be more blood on our hands, including that of the potential innocent lives lost by our air strikes. Our economy will have to withstand more strain from the costs of war. Most importantly, there is the possibility for more American lives lost, including students in the ROTC program and NIU student veterans who may get called to active duty.

What’s to say an air strike or two won’t escalate into all-out war? We have enough problems in our country to worry about before we even consider trying to solve another nation’s problems, especially when Syria is clearly involved in a civil war.

Even worse, if we do attack Assad then we are choosing a side, and we have a history of choosing the wrong sides in these situations.

“Look at how we supported the Taliban against Russia and how that turned out,” said senior history major Dale Boedewig.

When Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on the Kurds in 1988, we faced a new threat of chemical weapon usage. Our response, according to a 2003 column from the New York Times, was to blame Iran and then not bother chasing down Hussein until 2003. Why are we in such a hurry to face Assad?

The events in Syria are terrible, don’t get me wrong, but we still do not need to get involved in yet another troubling war.

“What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas and we choose to look the other way?” said Obama in his speech Tuesday.

Why doesn’t Obama put on the uniform and march his happy butt to Syria and show us how to not look the other way first, then we may join him once he’s shown us the “power” of America?

Oh, and bring Congress, too.

This is just like Iraq. We claimed Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he didn’t. The cost of those allegations still weighs heavily on our nation today. Now we are claiming Assad used chemical weapons, but what business do we have going to war with Syria over it?

As a marine, I served in Iraq and Afghanistan and still have two more years where I could be called back into active duty. I refuse to go fight another war America has no business being in.

I’m not the only student who would be affected by a war with Syria; there are many NIU student veterans and ROTC students who could be called upon to fight.

We can’t let history repeat itself. Let Syria sort itself out, and in the meantime let’s help Americans find jobs and get a good education.

“Mr. President, you don’t go to war, we do. You don’t know how it feels to be in a warzone. We go to war to defend this country, but to start a new war is unacceptable,” said Nicasio Cambel, senior sociology major and U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

The American people have spoken adamantly against another war. Let us not enter another period of violence and death.

Our generation is already a generation of war. We’ve seen enough.