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Should U.S. military intervene in Syria’s civil war?

By Pooja KumbharColumnist

President Barack Obama has been debating whether U.S. military intervention in Syria's 22-month-old civil war would help resolve the conflict, or just create more bloodshed.

As a powerful democratic nation, we hold it as our responsibility to end the ongoing crisis and tragic proportions of the war. Most recent reports place a death toll over 35,000, and numbers of those dead and imprisoned only increases each day.

The astounding rate of tragedy has led many Americans to call for some sort of U.S. military intervention. Possible proposals have ranged from humanitarian safe zones, to bombing campaigns to limited no-fly zones. Many of these voices are among those who advocated the Iraq intervention in 2003 and praise military involvement in Iran. The interventionists not only include groups of neo conservatives, but also those who justify intervention based on humanitarian necessity and interpretations of just war doctrines. This rationale and ideology is what ultimately leads to perilous consequences for our nation and the region.

“The extremists who believe in vast global military involvement to solve problems are the ones who ultimately worsen them,” said Hofstra University Senior and former student of Field Study at the United Nations Mishal Pahrand. as reported from one of her mission assignments. “They do not take into consideration that we do not have the money for more military intervention right now. In addition, it makes no sense to intervene at the moment either; we are already involved in so many countries. We need to currently focus on what we are already dealing with and our own domestic politics.”

The United States has its hands full right now with foreign policy involvement. Before we can enter into another country, we have to look at the costs it will toll on the current condition of our government, and whether we can handle more than what is already on our plate.

“It is not necessary to fully intervene in the Syrian crisis because we are currently trying to pull out if Afghanistan” said pre-law student, and political science major, Imran Ansari.

The proposal of even “limited intervention” strategies does very little to mitigate the human, monetary and geo-strategic costs of long term involvement.

Along with the United Nations ruling out support for military options to stop the bloodshed in Syria, the United States would once again carry the heavy burden of war alone.

“I don't think the UN is doing enough to apply pressure to the al-Assad regime,” said Charles Picone, College Rebublicans president. “They should be using every weapon in their arsenal, both literal and figurative to stymie the atrocities of his government and bring peace to the people of Syria. If they do their job right for once, the U.S. won't have to come to the rescue, as we always do.”

In NATO’s recent involvement in Libya, the United States provided more than half of the military data, surveillance, intelligence and refueling planes it needed for the operation. Syria is not the same as Libya, and NATO without the United States will not go far.

The Arab League plays no match against the Syrian regime either, which has the powerful Russia, China and Iran to back it up.

In essence, it is not an “international intervention,” yet just another U.S. military intervention in a Muslim region.

War is a brutal last resort. Diplomacy, travel bans, freezing assets and sanctions will do enough to accelerate Assad’s death. He is on a path for apparent self-destruction, and we do not need to go out of our way to solve Syria’s issues in the midst of our very own fiscal crisis all for the means of an elusive consummation of victory in a region bordered by Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Jordan.

Complicated questions face Syria, and it is ultimately up to the Syrian people themselves to decide and define their governance and future society not ruled by force or decree, but rather by the consent of citizens. What is necessary is a unified, non-extremist political front that builds on what the Doha Conference has already achieved, and expands on framework of the Cairo Communique. The most important role for the United States along with the European Union would be to encourage and aid in the process of establishing a government post-Assad. This means working to build an interim government, possible ways to bring to justice those at the core of the Assad regime, as well as preparing to stand guarded by potential retaliation. On a more legitimate and current scale, it is also just as necessary to provide humanitarian aid to the neighboring states of Syria and to support multilateral organizations working for the safekeeping of those Syrians struggling to survive through everyday crisis they live in.

By giving in to military intervention, we forget the bigger picture, the fundamentals of establishing a self-determined political future in Syria- not one that is swayed in the favor of what we as American perceives to be in our interests, once again entangling ourselves in another complex sectarian society.

The solution to the Syrian crisis has a simple political answer, and it is not one involving military.

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