Last week the United States, along with Britain and France, launched a missile attack on Syria in response to a chemical attack, allegedly perpetrated by the Syrian government, on the town of Douma. The chemical attack killed dozens of Syrian citizens and injured hundreds more. Western nations blamed Assad’s government for the chemical attack and launched 105 missiles targeting chemical weapons facilities. This is the largest application of military force President Trump has ordered so far. Russia was not happy with the attack and has threatened to shoot down U.S. missiles.
Apparently, the U.S. has no problem launching another attack on Syria in case another chemical attack takes place.
“I spoke to the president this morning, and he said, ‘If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded,’ ” said Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
Although I am completely against the chemical attack, and any similar attacks, and I think that Assad’s government is corrupt, I don’t believe increased violence was the best way to deal with the situation. Here’s why I think the missile attack was a bad idea.
First, the attack was not approved by Congress. This is a potential violation of the Constitution and of international law. Unless responding to an imminent attack on the U.S., the President is required to get congressional approval in order to involve the U.S. army in another country.
Second, it is uncertain whether or not Assad and his associates are actually responsible for the alleged chemical attacks. There is a possibility the chemical attack was carried out by other terrorist or rebellious groups in order to provoke the U.S. and other western countries. Also, Assad has no incentive to provoke the U.S., especially because Trump previously launched missile attacks on Syria to oppose Assad’s violence.
Third, attacking Syria poses the risk of empowering Syria’s current, most powerful terrorist organization, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. Foreign military involvement radicalizes locals and breeds violence. For example, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the creation and empowerment of ISIS. Additionally, the creation of Hezbollah terrorist group in southern Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip supports the claim that such foreign involvement breeds terrorism.
Fourth, the missile attack will deteriorate the already unstable ties between the U.S. and Russia. Whether Russia decides to involve its military in the Syrian dilemma or not, the icy tensions between Russia and the West will worsen. No one needs another world war.
Finally, I question the intentions that spurred the missile attack. Trump claimed the missile attack was a moral imperative in response to the unacceptable chemical attacks on Syrian citizens. The claim highly contradicts his policy that does not allow Syrian refugees into the U.S. and the passing of new laws that make it harder for immigrants and refugees to survive within the States. If he truly wanted to help Syrian civilians living in dangerous conditions, there are several other ways he could give aid without launching dangerous missiles.
I am not a political analyst and I am unsure of an ideal solution, but fighting violence with violence in order to stop violence is, in my opinion, a vicious cycle that will only worsen matters. Peace has never and will never stem from violence.
Photo courtesy of Hassan Ammar/AP.