Opinion: Taking action in Syria doesn’t have to mean violence

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is the senior columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.Contact him at [email protected].

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Syrian Civil War, (if you can even call it a war), the Syrian Government lead by President Bashar Assad has been dealing with the Syrian Revolution by attempting to obliterate the Syrian rebels. More recently, the death toll has reached more than 1,400 with alleged chemical weapons being used against the Syrian rebels since April.

Obama has declared that we need to “punish” Assad the same way a child is punished for throwing the family cat across the room: a swift smack up-side the head of government in the form of air strikes. Now, due to international hesitation, Obama will leave the decision to Congressional approval.

Meanwhile, the U.N. is at a stand-still with Russia and China voting against action towards Syria. Part of me wants to say give the U.N. more time. It was made for this exact kind of situation so that thousands of people don’t have to die. But at the same time, the U.N. has taken too much time in making these tough decisions and many innocent lives were lost. In places like Darfur and Rwanda, the U.N. has already proven what happens when there is too much hesitation.

This is a serious decision, and it doesn’t just put the lives of the Syrian people at risk. Russia, Syria’s greatest ally, has promised to intervene if any country meddles with the Syrian Government. What’s happened even more recently is the stationing of a Russian missile cruiser north of the Mediterranean, showing we aren’t just going against Syria’s government. But should the Syrian people suffer because we just came back from a decade of war?

How many more men, women and children need to die by bombs, bullets and gas? How much longer will it take until the U.N. takes action? Until there are death tolls reaching tens of thousands?

Many say America isn’t responsible for the international welfare of the world’s citizens, that this doesn’t have anything to do with the U.S. in any way and that we shouldn’t be involved. However, we’ve already proven we have a role in aiding Middle East revolutions. Oil or not, we have stood by them. Although I agree that it’s not our problem, I refuse to have everyone stand idly by while a nation’s government is slaughtering its people who reject their government – just because it’s not about us.

I wish we had more time to think or decide but with every second, more people are dying, and the United States has a window to do something. Obama will seek congressional approval to take action. Perhaps war isn’t the answer, but some sort of action needs to be taken towards the government as soon as possible, and action is more than just bombs and air strikes. Action can mean sanctions and embargos, peace talks and negotiations instead of military pissing contests.

Our lawmakers are reluctant, but action needs to be taken and if you believe something has to be done, which doesn’t have to be war, then contact your congressmen and let them know how you feel, war or not, we literally can do something.