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Travis Irvine Headshot

Surely You Can't Be Syrious

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So apparently we're about to go bomb the shit out of another country, and this time the lucky lady is... Syria! Well, Syria, congratulations, you've made it onto the United States' naughty list. Now prepare to deal with the ramifications! And of course, by ramifications, I mean missiles and bombs. Just when all you thought we cared about was Miley Cyrus, twerking and Ben Affleck playing Batman, huh?! Well, those things would still be true.

Here's the case for military intervention in Syria as I understand it from it's proponents, like Bill Kristol, who has fought in a lot of wars himself and even correctly said the Iraq War in 2003 would only take two months and he was 100 percent correct about that because he's a military genius: Syria has been in a bloody, brutal civil war for the last two years, with a rebel contingent trying to oust their deadly president, Bashar al-Assad. It is the last sad remnants of an Arab Spring gone wrong, even after several Middle Eastern countries successfully toppled oppressive regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Several other countries didn't fair so hot, like Bahrain and Syria. Come to think of it, Egypt and Libya didn't turn out so hot either. So I guess just Tunisia was hot and that's it.

Now even though I can't help but write with ridiculous connotations and whimsy, please know that seriously over 50,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011. It's really bad. If you can't fathom that amount of people, it's like an entire football stadium of people being killed or all 5,000 of your Facebook friends being murdered times ten. And the killing is being done by both sides: the rebel forces have killed Assad supporters, and Assad, who originally escalated this whole thing by crushing the Arab Spring protests two years ago, used his military to grip onto power by any means necessary. His regime has killed a lot of people and journalists, and that's why civil wars always just generally suck.

So that brings us to now, when apparently Assad's regime has crossed President Obama's "red line" by using chemical weapons on innocent citizens the other week. Of course, keep in mind that 50,000 people have already been killed. If the United States truly exists on this planet to be the police of the world and stop all bad things before they start, or to take out bad guys who do bad things to innocent people, we're way fucking late to the party on this one. But it's a noble argument and I understand it in theory.

The logistical problem with this argument is that history is not on our side with this anymore. When the U.S. intervenes in a civil war in another country, shit tends to get messy. In fact, it always does. Vietnam was a civil war. Afghanistan in the 1980s was a civil war that ended up creating al-Qaeda. Iraq turned into a civil war between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. So why do we continue to run into places and pick sides, ultimately guaranteeing that at least one side will eventually hate us later?

That is why we've got to take heed of what the opponents of military intervention in Syria are saying. In Great Britain, the Parliament just rejected attacking Syria, because their government actually debates these kinds of things. In America, if Congress did debate these things -- like they're apparently supposed to do according to some document called "The Constitution" -- you can bet your sweet mittens there would be people on the right and left who are against bombing Syria. And there are plenty of people in the media who are saying it's a bad idea, too. Heck, here are 8 reasons not to bomb Syria from a magazine called Reason, which is pretty much like 9,073 reasons.

Even though the civil war in Syria is bad, messy, bloody and deadly, if we go in and try to pick one side and bomb the other, it's just going to get more bad, messy, bloody and deadly. And even if we propel one side to victory, and all the blood and death is worth it, there is no guarantee that the rebel forces, who are associated with al-Qaeda, are going to like us afterwards. Is that something we need right now?

Even if we want to help and do the right moral thing, the consequences of our military actions rarely come out how we intend. Please don't support this war. It's serious. It's really fucking serious. And don't call me Shirley.