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Politics of war: Why we must act on Syria

By Dion J. PierreColumnist

Twelve years removed from the horrors of 9/11, and ten years since the American invasion of Iraq, Americans are once again faced with the prospect of military action in the Middle East, where our principles and interests are deliberated in the hearts and minds of a public weary of war. Despite the apprehension of those who argue against military action in Syria, I contend that the mistakes of Iraq are not to be confused with blatant violation of human rights committed by the Assad regime. America must act; the principles of our nation dictate that we do.

I have found myself personally torn about the possibility of military action in Syria and, in truth, was initially prepared to succumb to the partisan rhetoric that sought to criticize how the President is handling what is an undeniably complex issue. It wasn’t until I came across a thought-provoking quote by American Foreign Policy writer Bruce W. Jentleson. It read, “It is not necessary to go so far as to take on the role of global missionary or world police. But it is also not possible to claim to stand for democracy, freedom, justice, [and] yet say ‘not my problem’ to genocide, repression, torture, and other horrors.”

If we don’t send a message to the Assad regime that the deplorable use of chemical weapons on hundreds of children is intolerable, we will send a message to other brutal dictators that will read loud and clear: if they partake in the same actions, their crimes will go unpunished.

We have seen the horrors of non-interventionist policies before. I’m sure in retrospect none of us today would find it moral stand by and do nothing in reaction to Hitler’s invasion of Poland that subsequently resulted in one of the most onerous incidents of mass murder in world history.

There is a reason the world looks to us in these moments of peril, we stand uniquely in the world as champions of the world oldest constitutional democracy. Under no circumstances are we perfect, but if we don’t stand up for what is right in the world, who will? Russia, where elections are rigged and journalists disappear? If you can’t answer that question, then you’ve already answered for yourself that non-interventionism in regards to Syria and any other brutal authoritarian regimes will lead to atrocities no American should stand for.

Personally, I give all the criticism in the world to the Republican Party for not standing with the President on military intervention in Syria. For some reason, there are those who have decided to embrace the liberal kumbaya,  no war under any circumstance position that is antithetical to everything the Republican party is supposed to stand for. I am determined to back Mr. Obama on this because, yes, he does sound like a Republican. He does sound like a neo-conservative but, ideology aside, he sounds like an American who will not stand for human rights violations anywhere.

However, it is ironic that Secretary of State John Kerry – former Democratic Party nominee for president, who made the case for his election on the premise that George W. Bush lied about Iraq, and former Senator Chuck Hagel – who was the defecting Republican in his view on how Iraq was handled –is now tasked with convincing the American public that we must act in the name of what is right.

But my praise honestly goes to President Obama. Surprisingly the mentee of Jeremiah Wright and friend of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers has actively continued the post 9/11 policies of George W. Bush, and I for one am glad he has. The President makes a convincing argument when he points out that he came to Washington in the hopes of ending wars, and certainly not starting them. I am inclined to believe that once the President began to receive national security briefings, he came to terms with the struggle George W. Bush must have faced when deciding when it is acceptable to use America’s military might.

The world is watching us. The relatives of the children who lost their lives as a result of Assad’s senseless violence want to know if America will stay true to its place as the shining city on the hill. There is no greater enabler of evil than those who stand idly by and watch it take place.

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