Stay Out of Syria

“The Assad regime’s inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order, and therefore it demands a strong response from the international community, led by the United States.” – Hillary Clinton

More than 110,000 people have been killed in Syria over the past two years. Of those, more than 40,000 were civilians, innocent bystanders who had little to do with the conflict. Both sides have committed heinous crimes. For their part, the rebels have taken to brutally executing prisoners-of-war and consuming human hearts. Assad’s forces have been no better, executing hundreds of civilians at a time and reducing entire cities to rubble. These atrocities, these crimes against humanity, have been commonplace in Syria since war broke out in 2011. Only now, in the wake of a chemical attack that killed 1,400 civilians, are we beginning to realize just how horrific this conflict really is.

“The Assad regime’s inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order…” These words ring hollow when faced with the barbarism perpetuated by both the Assad regime and the rebel army. The inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction? Ms. Clinton’s words betray an utter disregard for that which she wishes to ignore. As Bashar al-Assad was launching chemical weapons into crowded urban neighborhoods, Syrian rebels were promising to “eat [the] hearts and […] livers” of Assad’s soldiers. While Assad’s army was massacring hundreds in Damascus, the rebels were videoing brutal executions.

I do not wish to belittle the horror of chemical weapons, but I wonder why that attack has garnered so much attention and previous atrocities have gone un-reported. Does cannibalism not violate a universal norm at the heart of our global order? How about al-Qaeda? Does that group, which has supported the rebel army since the war began, violate a universal norm?

In the throes of a “just crusade,” the President and his supporters have blinded themselves to those atrocities they do not wish to see. Links to al-Qaeda? Cannibalism? Brutal executions? Are these not “news-worthy”? Are chemical weapons so contrary to the “norm” that we feel justified in ignoring two years worth of slaughter? When did consuming human flesh become normal? When did executing unarmed prisoners-of-war stop violating “universal norms at the heart of global order”?

This is why I cannot support military action in Syria. There are no “good guys.” Both the Assad regime and the rebel army are full of monsters, men of pure evil who desire only death and destruction. President Obama claims justice as his ultimate goal, but what is this justice he seeks? Harming one evil and emboldening another? That is not justice, my friends. That is revenge.

At the outset, I supported President Obama’s call for a “limited airstrike” in Syria. Although I warned against acting rashly, I felt Assad’s heinous crime deserved retribution. However, the more I read and the more I learned, the less I support the President’s plan. Today, I want to make my opinion clear: I absolutely do not, under any circumstances, support military action in Syria.

There is no justice to be had. No matter our choice, injustice will reign. Either Assad escapes punishment for a crime of unfathomable inhumanity or we support a rebel army that has committed similarly horrific atrocities.

Despite recent reports that the Assad regime has agreed to relinquish its stockpile of chemical weapons, I do not believe this situation will be resolved peacefully. I can only hope President Obama realizes the error of his ways before it’s too late.