As you probably heard the Syrian government killed its own people in a chemical attack. In response the United States ordered strikes on a Syrian airbase. While I don’t believe it was morally unjust to bomb an airbase in retaliation to gassing civilians, I do not see the proper reasoning behind what the Trump Administration did. Syria is (as Donald Trump would probably put it) very very bad. Their government is a totalitarian mess with little regard for the safety of their people. However the rebels fighting the Syrian government aren’t exactly enemies of the Al-Qaeda. I would suggest we should be cautious over talks with either side of the Syrian Civil War. When arming rebels, we could be arming future enemies. But by taking military action against Syria we could be getting ourselves into another war in which the only way to create a positive outcome is to rebuild the Syrian government. In conclusion, why was it our responsibility to bomb a country that was not waging war against ours?
Here’s my idea of America’s road to war. Under the United States Constitution only Congress is given permission to “declare war”. It is quite obvious and clear that our founders did this so that our military couldn’t be used offensively without Congressional permission. Defense is one thing, even a counter attack, but entering a war should go through Congress. Sadly politicians and certain justices would disagree. Instead of basing their judgment on the point of law, they base it off how the text can be legally translated in modern day. “Sure the clause could have been intended to prevent drafting people into undeclared wars that the majority of Americans disapprove of, but since that isn’t exactly what was written I guess we can ignore it entirely.” Congress hasn’t declared war since WWII, yet 150,000 American soldiers have been killed in wars since then. Maybe the Constitution needs an amendment stating “in order to partake in war-like actions, excluding initial defense and repellency, a declaration of war is required”, but that’s the problem with modern politics. Instead of a 4,500 word Constitution we get redefined laws and 12 million-word bills.
So what am I saying? Should we do anything with Syria? Well I think it depends on what the people want. Is it America’s new duty to police the world? And in that case what would you have said if National Guard Outposts were bombed by Canada for how our government handled the Waco standoff? I’m not saying our government is anywhere close to being as bad as Syria’s, but is it another government’s responsibility to take care of the world? If you think that’s our duty fine, but I still think Congress should have a vote before we get involved in foreign wars. Also we have to be 100% behind this idea. Once you defend the Syrian people we have to rebuild their government once it collapses, and you then have to defend them from that government’s former allies until they have enough strength to defend themselves. Russia is allies with the Syrian government, taking down Syria might get us into even more trouble with Russia. If we start fighting we can not stop until it’s finished. Starting a war without full support of the people could create another Vietnam situation. The easiest way to prevent this is to make sure the majority of our elected representatives agree that we do want to fight this war. Lack of support leads to half finished wars or unstable environments where groups like ISIS can form. It’s better to stay out of war than to be unsure and quit halfway through. My message to Donald Trump would be get Congress’ permission, fight based on threats facing America, or stay out of it. We can still be a thorn in the Syrian government’s back without fighting them ourselves, and even if we completely ignored them we have more immediate threats in North Korea and Iran.
If you’re willing to throw away Constitutional regulations to say we’re responsible to protect Syrians from their government, then that should also go for their refugees. Getting our military involved in a foreign war because “think of the children!” is the same as taking in all of the refugees because “think of the children!” I’m not saying either way is wrong, I just want a clear and legal policy.