Is there a “just war” in Syria?


Photo of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Editor In Chief Rachael McKriger and James Rudolph discuss their viewpoints on if there is a “just war” in Syria.

While McKriger believes there isn’t, Rudolph argues the other way.

No, there is no “just war” — Kriger

The crisis in Syria is on the world’s radar.

After ignoring the people of Syria for many of years, the United Nations are getting involved. The United States is getting involved as well, as President Donald Trump ordered an air strike on military bases in Syria.

The Russian government is also involved, but are in a sticky situation. After years of supporting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the Russians did not come to his defense when he unleashed a chemical attack on his own citizens (that’s why Trump ordered the air strike).

With two superpower nations clashing already in Russia and the Untied States (sounds familiar to Cold War Era politics, hmm?), tensions have risen even higher. The United States is trying to keep boots off the ground in Syria, while also trying to avoid war with North Korea. As for Russia, the Russian government is just trying not to make an enemy out of everyone in the United Nations.

But one major question has arisen from the whole conundrum: is there really a just war being fought?

Absolutely not. Personally, I view this as a sort of Vietnam War redo. The Vietnam War had many people squirming wondering “Why are we butting into their business?”

Granted, despite my many criticisms toward President Trump, I will give him credit for intervening when chemical weapons were used on the Syrian people. However, if Donald Trump really cared about the safety and concern of the Syrian people, he wouldn’t have put them on a travel ban list.

So is there a just war between Russia, the United States and Syria? Probably not, because it seems like Syria is just the guinea pig and caught in the middle of an ugly mess.

If the United States is smart, there would be no war to fight. I think it’s hard to ever believe that the United States and Russia will ever perfectly get along- even if Trump and Vladimir Putin are allies in another stance. However, a war over Syria is not the smartest route to go down.

Yes, there is possibly a “just war” — Rudolph

The U.S missile strikes on military and resource facilities in Syria was met with mixed reactions from the international community, and mainly opposition from the American public. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and NATO believe the retaliation necessary, while Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah condemn the strikes, saying they will only lead to more conflict inside Syria, and its surrounding areas. Vladimir Putin said the strikes were, “a violation of international law and an attack on a sovereign state.” Meanwhile, public reaction and recent Gallup polls show a decline of those in favor of U.S involvement in Syria.

Why did President Donald Trump decide to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at military targets, resource facilities, and a government airstrip? Civilians and U.S personnel place the attack of Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad. Assad, a state-run news agency and Putin claim anti-government extremists were responsible for the attack. The chemical agent found in the attacks was sarin, a chemical known as a deadly nerve agent, and is considered by the U.N to be a weapon of mass destruction. In 2013, sarin was identified in a chemical attack in Ghouta, Syrian. Both rebel forces and the Assad government blame one another for the attacks.

You may be asking how this pertains to you, or why, as an American citizen, should this concern you. Why would the methods a leader uses on treasonous rebels, in his own country, be wrong? After all, haven’t we been in the Middle East for too long?

It is difficult to come up with a guaranteed plan to exit the Middle East, while maintaining a level of stability in the region. America is giving unfathomable amount of money, resources, and American lives into our involvement in the Middle East. However, I think it is more difficult to knowingly allow a dictator to commit human rights violation against his own civilians, all for the sake of silencing opposition.

Bashar al-Assad’s violence against his people escalated after numerous protests from civilians appeared around the country. The protestors wanted a change in the rule of Syria, saying Assad uses authoritarian practices, extreme censorship and surveillance, and violence on political opponents. Assad met them with a military reaction. He has even dared to stage attacks on his own citizens, and then blame the attacks on anti-government militant groups, through his state funded news agencies. Years of Civil War and excessive violence has been devastating to the people of Syria. With the assistance of Russia, who say they are assisting in Syria’s right to sovereignty, Assad continues his tyrannical reign over the Syrian people.

Trump’s latest use of force isn’t a new one in the U. S’s strategy in the Middle East, but it does escalate it to a new level. He has taken U.S involvement further out of the shadows, started by the Obama administrated and orchestrated by the C.I.A and special forces, and is adding speed to our battle against Assad. For years, Assad ignored the pleads of the international community to stop committing such atrocities against his own people.

Our role in the Middle East has us heavily invested in the fate of Syria and its people. Our fight against ISIS will have us in Syria, as they claim it as part of their caliphate, and have strongholds in the area as well. While the American public disagrees with the U. S’s policy on Syria, it is commonly agreed that defeating the Islamic State is in the U. S’s best interest. Having the support of the civilian population, and the stability of that population, is crucial in the battle against the terrorist group. Saving those people from an oppressive leader, who commits atrocities on those people, is an effective way of gaining that support.

While the United States is no shining example of moral fortitude, nor should we be the police force of the world, I don’t believe in sitting idly by as people suffer for simply voicing the desire for a change in government.