The Humanitarian case for Syria

This week, Donald Trump ordered an air strike on Syria. This was following the news that Assad had gassed many Syrians. While this latter is a tragedy, the former is not a proper response.

We must accept that we are not the police of the world. We aren’t morally superior to the rest of the world. We don’t know what’s the best course of action for all nations. In this case, we can easily state that Assad’s actions were reprehensible and illegal. However, we cannot unilaterally decide what the correct response to this tragedy. We can, however, protect as many as possible as the Statue of Liberty’s inscription reads.

While this seems to be the public’s reasoning on this issue, it certainly isn’t the administration. Look at how many genocides our country has overlooked, Rwanda and Sudan to name very few. We’ve never been a country that minds turning a blind eye to the execution of people. Trump certainly doesn’t give a shit about the Syrian people. I won’t speculate on what his motivation truly is but it certainly isn’t humanitarian. It also didn’t prevent future chemical attacks, the airbase remains functional.

It has also clearly given Trump quite the ratings boost. The Democrats have again showed their worthlessness by falling right into line. They are upset that Trump didn’t get Congress’s approval before military action (to be clear this is unconstitutional and should be punished) but, they agree with the military strike. Even Bernie Sanders seems to be mostly fine with it. He just seems worried about the possible future implications. This is of great concern. Trump has shown that he is willing to do anything that makes people like him more. Given that this is the only thing that people have approved of, expect more war.

This is something that we should have learned by now: we can kill, we can’t control. This means that we can’t eradicate an ideology by going to war. We should have learned this in Vietnam. More recently, we should have learned this in the “War on terror”. We’ve successfully killed many, many people and yet a new branch of extremism has arisen, ISIS. The way to rid ourselves of this is not war.

If we really wanted to help the people of Syria, we wouldn’t be potentially provoking war in order to inflict no impairment of their abilities. We would instead be finding ways to bring as many refugees as possible. We’d relax our immigration process in light of the pressing danger that they are in. Unlike the republicans would have us believe, these refugees are not going to be terrorists. In fact, our refusal of refugees increases the anti-US sentiment which in turns leads to easier recruitment for extremists.

The only ethical response to the gassing of the people of Syria is to move as many refugees as possible into the US. Starting a war will not protect the people of Syria and that should be our primary goal. Any deaths in attempts to protect the people of Syria will only cause increased extremism.