I Believe the United States Should Get Involved in Syria

“The price of greatness is responsibility” – Winston Churchill

I am not a Democrat, nor a Republican. I am not a liberal, nor a conservative. I am an American and a humanitarian. I do not like war or the idea of putting American lives in jeopardy but I believe in human rights and I believe that the G8 countries, especially the United States, have a responsibility to help people who cannot help themselves. I believe the United States should get involved in Syria.
I have been saying for over a year now that the situation in Syria is dire and the people of Syria need help from the west-much like I said about Libya. I am not talking about the Assad government or the Al Qaeda loyalist rebels. I think both sides are awful and both are committing atrocities. I am talking about the ordinary citizens, women and children of Syria who cannot simply escape to a neighboring country. I have been to Syria and the people I came across were wonderful to me and do not deserve this.

The Assad autocracy is and always has been that-a brutal dictatorship. It is not much different than other dictatorships that have fallen in the Middle East over the past several years or that still exist in places like Iran. The biggest difference is that Syria is really of little consequence to the world.

They are a very small oil producer as far as Middle Eastern countries go. Before the war started they produced about 400,000 barrels a day and now it is said they are down to 100,000 barrels a day-a fraction of the production of the richer Gulf nations. So aside from some oil, Syria offers nothing overly important to the Western world.

So why should we care that over 100,000 Syrians have died and that they were gassed by their own government? Why should we, the United States of America, risk our own people and resources after more than a decade of fighting two fruitless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The answer is simple. We are the United States of America; the richest country with the most powerful military, and nobody else will do it if we don’t! We have a higher responsibility than any other nation. As Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here”.

I don’t like war. I don’t want any Americans to lose their lives and if we stick to the no boots on the ground policy that may be possible-although I have my doubts about how possible that will be. Europeans, often pacifists, don’t want to get involved in Syria. Some Western European governments are still reeling from their involvement in the other recent wars at the United States’ behest and that’s understandable to a point.

But so what?!

So if Europe doesn’t want to get involved and the United States doesn’t do anything, then what happens?


The rich Arab countries or a country like Turkey will never take military action in Syria; the risks are too high for them culturally, ethnologically and economically. They simply want the west to do their dirty work. They want stability in the region to not disrupt their oil scam but don’t want to get their hands dirty.

Russia and China? Forget it! Aside from blocking any sort of military action as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with full veto rights, they’d never do anything. Russia has a lucrative trade agreement with Syria. Russia doesn’t even acknowledge what has occurred or is occurring plus they want to maintain theoretical control and keep the US out of the region. The Russian President is a complete ass who lives in his own fantasy Czar-land riding horses with his shirt off.

Putin and the joke that is the United Nations are laughable. The UN wants to wait until these so called inspectors have filed their report. Then there will be more “diplomacy” and votes and talking and eventually nothing will happen when the UN peacekeepers should’ve been involved a year ago. Rwanda anyone? This is so obvious, how can the UN and the global community allow this to happen again!?

So that leaves the United States to pick up the pieces yet again and help a nation that cannot help itself against a ruthless dictator.

Americans don’t want this. The US doesn’t relish this role. President Obama doesn’t want to go into Syria at all but since nobody is going to-we have to! President Obama must act or he risks a Syrian genocide as his foreign policy legacy.

If not, where will it end? It won’t and other rogue nations like Iran, North Korea, terrorist groups or others will see weakness in the United States. They’ll figure they can get away with what they want because the US won’t do anything as they don’t want anymore war.

Of course we don’t want more war, but that’s not an excuse to allow innocent people to die in a brutal fashion.

This situation is awful and I don’t envy President Obama with his decision but I do think it is the right one to get involved in Syria. He must act.

Although he made it a campaign pledge, I did disagree with him going to Congress for permission, although it appears he may have the votes necessary to secure a blessing from Congress. However, if he doesn’t, he really boxed himself in.

Aside from being humiliated on a global stage (as David Cameron was recently), he sets himself up to go it alone without Congressional or public International support: aside from Cameron and apparently the new French President as France has some interests in Syria. But who knows what will happen with those allies or other passive countries like Germany.

However it happens, the United States needs to be involved in Syria because no one else will. I was against the war in Iraq for lack of clarity of the goal and of course a misguided and ill-informed reason for going in the first place. I was for the war in Afghanistan at first as a direct result of 9/11 but years of fighting an unknown enemy with no exit strategy or victory makes one forget why we went in the first place.

For the last century, the United States, whether we like it or not are the world’s police. We didn’t ask for it, nor particularly like it, but we are held to a higher responsibility by ourselves and the world; and we must act.

You could see the frustration on Obama’s face when he made his decision public: his frustration with the rest of the world and the United Nations. I agree with John McCain that we should have done this a long time ago but it must happen now and I hope European nations form a coalition to assist the US although I am not hopeful.

Critics will say that Obama wants to do this because of his reputation with the red line comment. Let them whine. It has nothing to do with politics-there are lives at stake and a government that gassed their own people as Saddam Hussein did in the 1980’s. They need to be stopped.

I acknowledge that the rebel side has Al Qaeda ties and are not exactly the 1770’s US Patriots fighting the British for independence. I also acknowledge the a clear exit strategy should be laid out-although that doesn’t mean things will go according to plan.

Syria and the Middle East are always going to be fundamentally different than the west. We can never fully understand the sectarian and tribal differences-much like in Africa. It will never change. Our values and system of government do not translate there so we will have to deal with bad guys running the show. That’s the way it is and always will be-that’s a fact!

But I prefer bad guys that don’t gas their own people. Assad has to go and the United States should get involved in Syria to make that happen.

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  1. I completely agree with just about everything you wrote here and kudos to you for taking a real stance publicly on a serious issue that might cause some controversy.

    The videos that came out were totally horrific and those poor people cannot do anything about. Both sides are terrible and it is such a difficult decision, it seems to be baffling everyone in the US and even in Washington. Some of the Republican Senators of course are turning it into a political issue and trying to talk about Benghazi and other issues but it appears they will pass it. Who knows but great post! One of my favorites by you.

  2. Why don’t you go help yourself and leave the world in peace?
    Do you really believe all this bullshit? Us fucked Iraq to steal the oil. US never plans on helping any other country but US. Wake up man.

    • What oil did the US steal? So you’re saying the US has never helped any other nation? I’m wide awake by the way…

      • Open your mind. Don’t you know US has been doing this kind of thing since way back. Remember when US provoke war on mexico and successfully pulled out one just to beat them and get a huge chunk of their land. Do you learn history?? that’s how they role. And they said something like ” we’ve been attacked by our enemy’ and so on. You sir are one of the people who just take whatever being said to you by people. Learn to see the bigger picture of something dude, and you’ll discover something you won’t believe.

  3. ALthough I wish it wasn’t the case, the US does have a greater responsibility than any other nation. You’re right-we have to help those people in Syria. I would like to know what the proof that Obama has but either way, I fully support stopping the war as long as US lives are not put in the battle on the ground.

    • Sean, I think that will be tough but if they stick to the no boots on the ground policy then I believe we can make a real difference and keep most people happy…I think most people agree something needs to be done, it’s just no one wants to do it or endanger US lives

  4. Are you unaware that we just fought two wars for no reason for last dozen years? Getting into Syria is a terrible idea.

  5. “I was for the war in Afghanistan at first as a direct result of 9/11”
    And all credibility is lost in one ridiculous, ignorant, very American sentence. You were for the war in Afghanistan because one group of crazies, who were led by someone who happened to be from Afghanistan, attacked your country? I’m glad, as an Irishman, the British government didn’t take the exact same approach when the IRA attacked London, or the UK would have declared war on the Republic of Ireland. I’m in disbelief that people can’t understand basic logic.

    • Johnny, what are you talking about? You talk about ignorant sentences as if you know what you’re talking about.

      The US response in Afghanistan was to unseat a brutal, fear inducing Government, the Taliban, who allowed Bin Laden and Al Qaeda to openly exist and operate in Afghanistan. What was the US supposed to do? Sit there and take it and allow Al Qaeda and the Taliban to continue doing whatever they wanted in the obscurity of Afghanistan.

      • I literally don’t have the patience to reason with people like you Andrew. I would hazard a guess you are in fact American :S

        • So anyone that disagrees with you must be American? hahahahahahaha. Would be easy to throw out some ridiculously ignorant Irish stereotypes but that would be counterproductive. You’ve provided all the ignorance this thread needs.

  6. Don’t you know that Syria doesn’t qualifiy for the Platinum “Freedom Package” http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-march-21-2011/america-s-freedom-packages

    Also, I find it interestng (historically speaking) that Germany is now considered a “pacifist country”

  7. horrific, ill-informed ignorant tirade indicative of every reason why the US and many of it’s citizens have the reputation they do. I don’t even know where to start….

    “I was for the war in Afghanistan at first as a direct result of 9/11″
    And all credibility is lost in one ridiculous, ignorant, very American sentence. You were for the war in Afghanistan because one group of crazies, who were led by someone who happened to be from Afghanistan, attacked your country? I’m glad, as an Irishman, the British government didn’t take the exact same approach when the IRA attacked London, or the UK would have declared war on the Republic of Ireland. I’m in disbelief that people can’t understand basic logic.

    ‘We are the United States of America; the richest country”
    -GDP perhaps, but let’s not mention the 16 trillion dollar debt then eh? Or do you mean GDP per capita? Cos the US isn’t even in the top 5 :S

    “So that leaves the United States to pick up the pieces yet again and help a nation that cannot help itself against a ruthless dictator.”
    Yet again? Like how you did in WW1? ermm wait. WW2? Hmm, debatable. Iraq and Afghan – hows that been working out?

    “For the last century, the United States, whether we like it or not are the world’s police. We didn’t ask for it, nor particularly like it, but we are held to a higher responsibility by ourselves and the world;”
    The US are not the world police, noone wants you to assume that mantle aside from yourselves. Despite this the US brazenly disregard the Geneva Convention, leaving the world in absolute dissaray.

    “The rich Arab countries or a country like Turkey will never take military action in Syria; the risks are too high for them culturally, ethnologically and economically. They simply want the west to do their dirty work. They want stability in the region to not disrupt their oil scam but don’t want to get their hands dirty.”
    ERMMM, Qatar and Saudi Arabia probably just about squeeze into ‘rich Arab countries’, given the fact that they are in fact the two RICHEST arab countries and they are supporting the rebels, to a further extent that the US or Europe has. At least do your homework mate.

    Remember the last time u poorly choose your allies, yup that’s right in Afghanistan. How did that work out?

    A poignant thought to finish- more people have died in the US led ‘invasion’ of Iraq due to American warfare, than the amount of people who have died in Syria yet Americans just don’t learn their lesson.

    a little knowledge is a dangerous thing Lee Abbamonte

    • You sound like an angry, ignorant ass

    • Something needs to be done, and I think Lee’s point is that it has reached a point of frustration with the all the worlds powers(i.e. the UN and including the US and other countries) doing absolutely nothing while normal people are killed by vicious attacks. I honestly don’t care if they used chemical weapons, this should not be the decision point, the decision point should have come over a year ago when innocent people were being killed.

      Johnny- if you are going to spend your time ranting against someone being ill-informed you should realise that the US pushed the Afghan government to help with Al queda, when they wouldn’t is when the US went in seeing it as an attack on the US from a foreign country, the situation in Northern Ireland was much different from that and I do believe there were plenty of military on the streets, at least in the North. I agree we should do this with Allies but if you saw an innocent woman being beat up on the street and your friends were unwilling to jump in to help would you just stand there and do nothing? I’d hope not, just because the masses do nothing doesn’t mean its right.

      I do think though if the US and others support it should not be to support the rebels or Assad but to simply create a cease fire at least as much as humanly possible so the next steps for the country can be decided in peace and without fear.

    • Lee, can you permanently block this “Johnny” idiot from you blog. His revisionist form of history is decreasing my intelligence with every sentence that I read!

      • Haha…everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I don’t block anyone…even if it is an angry baseless rant

        • Lee if you’re gonna to call my comment ‘angry and baseless’ at least have the courtesy to respond directly to it. I don’t think any I said was inflammatory and certainly not revionist. Like i said, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and simply having the platform, created in a different niche, to have an opinion about something which one knows so little is more dangerous still.

      • should i post some more links to atrocities world wide and wait for the world police to invade those countries too? Revionist history? Don’t make me laugh mate, i think most educated people are aware that the US is the poster chile for revionist history :S

  8. So the United States and the rest of the world should just stand idly by and watch Assad gas his own people and do nothing? That makes a lot of sense. Let’s just let an autocrat kill thousands of his own people with no recourse. Great idea.

    The US and Europe must intervene in this situation or it won’t stop and will continue in the future in other countries.

  9. The world needs to enforce the International treaty banning the use of chemical weapons, not just the US.

    The biggest flaw in peoples opinions on Syria are that they think it’s pretty much the same as Iraq and Afghanistan but it is a totally different issue. The US didn’t ask for it but someone has to enforce it.

  10. Johnny,

    You are very quick to criticize Lee’s opinion, but offer no substance of your own. Given that you are Irish, maybe you should start with your home country before trashing other countries. Overspending, political crisis, financial crisis, banking scandals, etc, not much difference there between our two countries (yes, I am American).

    So please, since you are so passionately against actions by the US and the American people, what should be done? What are your thoughts on how the Syrian situation should be handled? Just let the situation escalate within their borders and watch as Syrians kill themselves? Please enlighten the world!
    Personally, I agree with Lee for the most part, someone has got to intervene, especially with the chemical warfare that is going on. Obviously the peacekeepers of the world (ie the UN) are doing nothing and neither are any other countries. This was laid out pretty accurately by Lee during his “horrific, ill-informed ignorant tirade.”

    Yours truly,


    It’s nice to see you take a stand on this issue. I always admire your opinions and while I don’t necessary agree with your opinion here, I love the debate. There’s always going to be idiots like Johnny who just rant and go through a story without actually reading and taking other points of view into consideration but most intelligent people respect an opinion if it’s laid out well.

    I believe that there should be an International coalition as you say you want as well. Of course, with European elections coming up, that may not happen in countries like Germany. Many European nations seem to group this situation into the Iraq war which was completely different under almost all circumstances and under different leadership.

    This is much more similar to the Libya situation which we were in and out of quickly and certainly helped the rebels win their war. As long as it’s not a ground war I am generally for military action but I, like you, don’t want this at all…but I see no alternative because no other nation and certainly not the UN, will do anything.

    Thanks Lee and congrats on the Australia gig!

    • Thanks Brian…it’s good to debate as long as people are reasonable…I don’t care what your opinion is as long as you can back it up with information and keep a reasonable tone…turning something into an anti-American rant is just silly.

  12. This is one of the most divisive issues I can remember where there seems to be no good solution either way. But the one thing I keep coming back to is something has to be done and the world cannot sit back and do nothing. The US doesn’t want to go at it alone and other nations want to help but they are worried about backlash from their people, as you called them pacifists. Politics should not get in the way and people should not compare this issue to others in recent history. Of course I don’t want anyone to die but these mad men need to be stopped. The big question is if we get rid of Assad, the what happens? Al Qaeda rebels take over? I am not totally clear on this but that’s not a good solution either…my head is spinning! But thanks for raising the issue Lee and I tend to side with your views on a humanitarian basis.

  13. Excellent post Lee and great comments…well entertaining at least!

  14. I couldn’t disagree with you more. The president needs the approval of congress to go to war. Anything else is illegal! The way he has been acting with starting wars is how a dictator acts which you say you are against. The USA is in complete shambles financially. We don’t have the money or resources to add another war ( we are borrowing money from China at them moment to finance them) . It is also not our job to be the world police force. Potentially this war is over Quatar wanting to put in a natural gas pipeline though Syria. http://www.infowars.com/is-the-united-states-going-to-go-to-war-with-syria-over-a-natural-gas-pipeline/ There is also no definitive evidence Assad gassed these people. It looks like Al qaeda gassed them who wait…. we are backing. God know why because they took down our towers. We also run the risk of going to war with Russia and China who are allies with Syria. Are you ready for WW3? Please stick to the great travel writing i follow you for. Articles like this dont fit the blog.

    • That’s a bit dramatic Shawn, there is no risk of WW3

      • No Risk of WW3? If we attack Syria with Russia and China saying don’t attack our allies what do you think will happen? Do you think they will just keep saying please don’t do it? i would suggest they will be forced to take action. It pains me to think you don’t understand the president has no authority to go to war with out congressional approval.

        • Shawn, I am well aware of it but seems to happen often and with this disaster of a Congress, who is already turning this into a political issue-I have no faith in them.

          • Stating things like this in your article says otherwise ” I did disagree with him going to Congress for permission, although it appears he may have the votes necessary to secure a blessing from Congress. However, if he doesn’t, he really boxed himself in”. For the people who don’t know better its misguiding to state its OK for the president to declare war without congressional approval. He must go to congress unless we are under attack. There are checks and balances in place for all branches of government so people cant act like he is doing.

  15. Great post lee, I couldn’t agree more with just about everything you said. This is a complete disaster that nobody wants to deal with but if it is not dealt with then it will keep happening.

  16. Interesting post and much different than your usual posts which is nice. It’s always good to see when public people post opinion pieces. I also noticed you have been talking more about political issues on your TV appearances lately so good for you for branching out.

    I personally don’t feel that we should get involved but I do appreciate your points and think that we lose either way. I support the President’d decision or should I say Congress’s decision either way.

  17. Your an idiot!

  18. They just found sarin gas in Syria so there’s the evidence needed

  19. hi, lee. thank you for this post and embracing debate about such an important topic. i have a lot of very similar thoughts and feelings – though my current leanings are against US intervention (for today anyway…)

    i also think you bring a unique and interesting perspective given your “occupation” representing american travelers in some of the world’s most far flung and least traveled places. although i’m an amateur traveler by your standards, i’ve learned so much (and been often surprised!) while engaging in measured and thoughtful discussion about the roles and/or obligations of the US.

    thanks for sharing!

  20. I’d like to understand why you blast those people with opposing viewpoints so strongly, even people like johnny and Shawn who have given facts. It appears that Shawn’s responses were just as “level headed” as amy c., his viewpoint was just not the same as yours. And picking on someone for a simple spelling mistake is just plain rude, and doesn’t make you look like the better person.

    If you choose to post things on your blog of such a heated nature, be fully prepared to get views from all sides….otherwise stick to the travel pieces.

    By not acknowleding others views, shows that you are narrowminded and not open to the possibility that people like Shawn and johnny might be right.

    • Hi Erika, who is it that I blasted so strongly? I acknowledge everyone’s point of view and addressed Shawn’s twice and certainly didn’t blast it-not sure why you said I didn’t and others addressed Johnny’s anti-American rant so I didn’t have to.

      I fully expect and want all views on a subject like this which is the point; but refuse to engage people who go on pointless rants clearly aimed at simply being a jerk (ie the idiot who called me an idiot as a baseless claim-haha) but you can, feel free!

      • If you support this war then how about you join the military and go there and fight you’re self? As soon as we attack Syria all things go too hell. Obama pulled the troops out of Iraq because he said he was against war and now he wants too go too war with Syria? Before we fix other countrys problems we need too fix our own problem.

  21. I’m sorry, but this whole post just shows a blatant lack of knowledge about history. This “we’re on a higher mission, we’re the worlds police” rhetoric is so self righteous. When has the US ever taken any military action that wasn’t in their own interest? You may have been brainwashed by media, education and your government that the US is the force for good in the world, but there are millions of corpses in graves from Vietnam to Panama who kinda disagree with that. (WWII you say? If you got involved without being attacked first that might have been a bit more credible)

    Also, getting involved in Syria is getting involved in a hornets nest, a swamp without end. A large part of the Syrian population also still supports Assad because they know that if his regime falls, the country will suffer years and years of ethnic cleansing, chaos and death. So what would your military intervention look like? Destroy part of Assads power so he won’t use chemical weapons anymore but just let people kill themselves with conventional weapons? Drive Assad from power and watch how millions more die or are displaced in the aftermath? A successful military intervention can only be like what happened after WWII, prolonged military occupation, with the difference that unlike in Germany, in Syria you’ll be trying to keep the different sects, tribes and religions in check. And that will involve many Americans in body bags, without any outlook for success in the foreseeable future…

    • Hi Steven, I appreciate your comment but I am very well versed on history and have not been brainwashed at least last time I checked. And of course the US takes action in their own interest-what country doesn’t. The UN and a coalition of European and Middle Eastern nations should be the ones intervening in Syria. Also, is Panama not better off now than they were with Noriega? I was just there again and they are pretty rich and the people are pretty happy more or less. Additionally, the reason they are rich and that Panama City looks like Miami now is because we turned the Panama Canal over to them.

      I am not being intentionally righteous about the US but it seems we are always put into these situations over the past several decades. I believe we are performing many of the actions that we and many other nations pay for the UN to supposedly do-but they clearly don’t-the UN’s model doesn’t work, I think that’s clear.

      Are you really bringing up WW2 and our credibility? I will not even address that utterly ridiculous comment. I don’t know your nationality but your anti-American rhetoric is clearly biased.

      I agree with you about Syria being a hornets nest and there being an unclear plan. It seems to me that there would have to be boots on the ground and some sort of interim occupation of some sort. That is the biggest question in my view but that doesn’t excuse us from protecting the innocent people dying. As I said, the UN and neighboring nations should’ve been in there a year ago…now it’s reactive but it needs to happen in my view.

      • Maybe brainwashed was too strong a term, but the whole “we’re the greatest nation in the world, the worlds police, we have a moral obligation” rhetoric sounds a lot like it in my opinion. I’m not biased against the US, I’ve been there 4 or 5 times now and quite enjoyed it, though there were many things that made me frown. I am however biased against their foreign policy, trying to sell interventions for their own economic interest as a do-good mission. Your initial post made it sounds like you’re convinced the US has this higher mission, though now you do admit the US takes (military) actions mostly in their own interests. Which is exactly my point. There’s no moral obligation, there’s no higher goal. There’s just the economic or political interests. Which, to be honest, I kinda understand, but at least be upfront about it and don’t hide behind a “we’re here to make people happy” facade.

        As somebody else said, attacking Syria is actually attacking Iran. It has little or nothing to do with the well being of the Syrian population.

        Was the US concern over the happiness of the people in Panama really the reason of the invasion there? I think not. The only time I can remember the US actually invaded with good intentions was Somalia. But that didn’t go exactly as planned, and it took many more thousands of deaths and almost two decades of fighting and killing before the African Union troops finally managed to bring some sort of stability.

        I’ve heard a diplomat bring this point up before: “people need to be ready for peace”. Maybe now in Somalia people finally are. But in Syria? The hatred runs very deep there and has been for, well, centuries. Civilians are being killed, but many people still support one faction or the other and would cheer for any death on the other side… As long as suffering of the other side is not considered as bad as suffering on your own side, the killing will continue, regardless of a foreign intervention.

        Oh, and I’m from Belgium… Or, as I had to explain so often last May in California: that dot on the map between France and Germany that isn’t Holland.

        • I am not saying we are morally superior at all, I am just saying we are held to a higher standard to act-especially when no one else will.

          Also, you bring up Somalia…that is still a very divided country, in fact it is basically divided into 3 separate countries with different visas needed for different regions and checkpoints every kilometer or so…while they may have stopped fighting currently, it can stir up again at any time. I may be going back there early next year to see how they’re progressing.

          Finally, nobody accused most Americans of being geography wizzes!

  22. I agree the US has no other option than to intervene but with guidelines for an exit and also an outlook on what happens once Assad is thrown out or killed. I don’t want this but I feel so horrible for those people-someone has to help them.

  23. Great post Lee. I love controversial and divisive posts. Some of these people are out of their minds. Like the guy who called you an idiot for posting your opinion LOL! As far as I know you’re the only travel blogger to post an actual opinion with an explanation of why as opposed to a blanket I’m against or for it. Good stuff.

    I actually disagree with you and think we need more evidence and that we should focus on issues facing us at home like the issues with healthcare, Detroit, Chicago, etc. However, I am also a realist and know that we have to address this Syria issue as well.

  24. After reading this post, I found myself thinking about my own stance on the matter. There are many reasons that I question the motives of our government in wanting to strike.

    As an avid traveler and world citizen, I am not an advocate of war, but I am a strong believer in human rights and this was clearly in violation.

    The video evidence of the effects of the chemical attacks I found online were absolutely horrific.

    The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Assad began in March 2011.

    This number gave me the chills. I hate to hear of anyone dying without just cause, but is this enough reason for a military intervention?

    Moaz al-Khatib, a former president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was quoted stating: “Ending the massacre in Syria is the responsibility of the international community.’’

    I found myself thinking… is it really?

    Would an intervention by the US and its allies really help solve the conflict that is going on there? As an American citizen and a citizen of the world, I have to pose this question: Are we really being honest with ourselves with the reasons for wanting to enter this war? Is it really for the said human rights violations and to be the “good guys”? Or we were really doing this because we want to hurt Iran? Syria is Iran’s closest partner in the Arab world and John McCain has been quoted saying, ‘The fall of Bashar al-Assad would be the greatest blow to Iran in twenty-five years.’ With Iran apparently working toward a program of nuclear arms, he suggested, an intervention in Syria was not just a matter of humanitarian interest but also one of national interest. (Source: The New Yorker)

    Is this declaration of war simply to a way to take advantage of a country’s weakness for access to Iran’s oil reserves? Proved oil reserves in Iran, according to its government, rank third largest in the world at approximately 150 billion barrels. Even though their oil production has declined due to political unrest, limited investment, and US sanctions, can’t it be recovered once there is proper infrastructure, especially if the infrastructure is installed by the United States?

    Another reason to question the US military motives:

    There are thousands human rights violations all across the world. I can name several off the top of my head: Genocides are happening today in Darfur, Sudan, Eastern Burma, Congo and Rwanda. So why pick this one in particular to wage an enormous, very costly war against unless we also had other interests other than “being the policemen of the world”?

    If we look back in history at the US involvement with Iraq and how it left it —a failed state that will take years and cost thousands of lives to rebuild. Here’s another question to the US government: Is this how we are going to leave Syria? Is this how we as the United States of America operate as the so-called “policemen of the world”? By interfering in conflicts that we do not belong in and then bail when the going gets tough, leaving the infrastructure of a country in shambles?

    These conflicts that we are meddling with are rooted in thousands of years of history. We should know damn well what we’re getting into. And we should also know what we’re going to do about it when things don’t go according to plan. If the US is going to go interfere in the Syrian civil war, it better plan to be there for the long haul.

    Let us not think about war in terms of our country’s ego, but in terms of the number of civilians that will have to be involved.

    Please do not let this be another war fought for the American ego, our ego as “The United States of America”. If we really want to save the civilians of Syria as a noble cause, I encourage it, but if this is a thinly veiled excuse for the US to get a stronger foothold in Syria in order to tap into the Middle East oil reserves, then here’s the question that I pose to the US Congress: Is this all really worth the blood of our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters that will have to be deployed there?

    Taking into account past actions by the American government in developing countries such as Vietnam and Afghanistan as well as the declining US economy, I’m afraid that their answer to my question may be a firm “yes”.

    This rant also appears as a post on my blog Please Do Not Let This Be Another War Fought For The American Ego: My Thoughts About The US Military Strike On Syria

    Thanks for reading!

  25. To make a long story short, this is looking exactly like Iraq 2.0
    Even if our government were genuinely serious about its humanitarian concerns, AND if believed bombing could, in principle make a positive difference in a place that’s sprung like a bear trap with ethnic hatreds going all the way back to something like 1100 AD, what makes you think that we can successfully pull it off?

    What’s batting average at improving the lives of populations in humanitarian situations in the middle east? .100?

  26. Lee, long time reader, first time caller. Agree 100%, UN are a joke. With great power, comes great responsibility, US needs to get in take action, then get out with a handover to a democratically elected government, the UN will never take such action. Putin looks after Putin (didn’t he change the constitution to get back in?)

  27. It’s hard to know where to start to refute your arguments, so I won’t. But I will say that it is long past time that the United States should stop spending the lives of its young people and its treasure to impose its view of morality on the rest of the world. If the revelations of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have made anything clear, it’s that the moral high ground which you seem to think the United States stands on is pretty shaky terrain indeed. Finally, if we start letting the Muslim world stew in its own mess, maybe their so-called leaders might actually do something.

    • I like the idea of letting them stew in their own mess but that hasn’t seemed to work over the past 50 years…I’m not saying the US is on a moral high ground, I’m simply saying we have a higher responsibility to act.

  28. I completely agree with you. From a humanitarian standpoint, we can’t stand by and watch this happen to innocent people. Obviously there’s no easy solution here, but watching people die and not getting involved is unacceptable.

  29. Karl Schipul says
  30. What about Mossadegh affair, was it fair? What about 9/11 trial delay,was it fair? the commision was a farce setup after 441 days. Iran contra affair, Mai Lay massacre, NSA spying, Watergate. The thing is the govt everywhere around the world is corrupt, including the US, and the people are misinformed, there is nothing much you can do about it.

  31. I know this is several years too late. However, I thought I’d add something. I don’t entirely agree with Lee here, but I would tend more to agree than disagree with what he said. What I also find interesting is that people in the travel blogging community particularly those roughly of the millennial generation tend to assume too often that the more you travel the more your “eyes will be open” and the more you will not have opinions worthy of mocking and disdain like what Lee has expressed here. Apparently what Lee has expressed is a kind of narrow closed mindedness that only untravelled, uneducated, rural white Republican people would have, yet it doesn’t fit into the paradigm that he is a very well travelled person with an MBA from a reasonable university, who lives in a cosmopolitan global city like New York and considers himself neither republican or democrat.

    I also find it interesting that some of the people disagreeing with him have tended to show quite condescending and dismissive attitudes somehow seeing him as worthy of contempt just for expressing his view. Even though they strongly disagree, his detractors here have generally tended not to say that he is entitled to his view.

    A few points about the topic. I’d recommend people read up on and compare the following approaches to international relations (which all disagree with each other and would give different answers to this question):

    Realism, Neo-Realism, Neo-Classical Realism (eg Mearsheimer, Walt)
    Liberalism, Liberal Internationalism, Liberal Institutionalism, Neoliberalism (eg Kant, Keohane)
    “Neo-Conservativism” (eg Irving Kristol and co)
    Marxist theory, Dependency theory, and World Systems Theory (eg Immanuel Wallerstein)
    Critical theories, Postcolonialism (eg Gramscianism)
    Clash of Civilisations (Huntington)
    “Liberal-Realism”, the International Society View, The English School of International Relations (eg Herbert Butterfield, Martin Wight, Hedley Bull, Buzan, Copenhagen School)

    I’m a Westerner, non-American and a millennial who also likes travelling a lot.

  32. I agree.. However, I do also think that the USA slaughters many animals. Yes, this is extremely random. The US kills soo many cows and chicken without mercy just so some people can go and eat it for fun at McDonalds. I think that we as Americans should at least ban these slaughterhouses.

    I am vegetarian, but I don’t hate non-vegetarians. Im just saying that whenever you UNNECCESSARILY eat fast food, keep in mind a completely innocent animal died for you.

    Very random and unrelated, but I just thought of this when you said you were a humanitarian. Otherwise, this article is very well-said, and no matter what political affiliations one has (a liberal in my case) this argument youve provided is extremely valid

  33. Reading this post again in 2017 (four years since this was originally written) and yet again, innocent Syrians have been victims of chemical warfare. The biggest difference? The United States is now under the leadership of President Trump and the Republican Party. And with rumours of Russia interfering with the 2016 Presidential Election and close ties with Putin, I could see Trump working together with him to resolve the crisis. But, don’t expect Bashar al-Assad to relinquish his power in Syria.

    My only concern with this scenario is al-Assad is a war criminal and will continue to govern unpunished for many years to come. ISIS will regroup and re-brand itself and recruit the next Generation impacted by the loss or imprisonment of their parents 15 – 20 years from now. On the flipside, if al-Assad is forced to relinquish his Presidency and face charges for war crimes, then who will take over? The last thing you need is for another Middle Eastern country to succumb to a power vacuum as that is enough for ISIS to gain traction and power in these troubled areas.

    The United States should get involved at this point, but they need the support of the UN and NATO before they do because you know that Trump won’t keep Putin in check.

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