For more than two years I have advocated restraint for military action against Syria, my position has changed. As a son of Syrian immigrants, I have been put into a delicate spot of seeing the birthplace of my parents ravaged in civil war, while also adhering to my libertarian views of a limited government. However, last month’s chemical attack by Syrian government forces has changed my reluctance for military action.
President Obama announced a “red line” a year ago, warning Syria against using chemical weapons against civilians. Last month, elements of the Syrian government defied that threat and unleashed a chemical barrage against thousands of civilians, killing over 1,400 men, women and children and wounding countless others. A military response is not only moral but necessary for U.S. national security interests.
Of course Congress should be in the discussion of using military force; it’s enumerated in the Constitution, and I applaud President Obama’s last minute decision to get approval. But to oppose a Syrian response would be a grave miscalculation. Rogue nations are watching our response to the chemical attacks closely, and if Assad’s attack is allowed to go unanswered, what prevents them or another country from committing the same atrocities again?
I recognize that there are no good options for Syria; on one hand a secular despot has brutally suppressed a once-peaceful protest movement, while on the other hand foreign terrorist elements have been increasing in numbers in a country not known to be an extremist hotbed. However, the Syrian civil war has implications across the Middle East. Lebanon is dealing with their own turmoil with bombings in two of its biggest cities in recent weeks, and an influx of refugees pouring into Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey has caused instability. Israel has been dragged into the conflict, attacking Syrian assets twice this year.