Syrian attacks: We must not retreat

Michaela Bush, Columnist

Last Thursday evening, I flipped the TV on to watch a new episode of a series I follow, but was welcomed by President Trump’s face instead.  As many of you probably know by now, 59 missiles were sent into Syria, bombing the Shayrat base that the chemical attacks a few days prior originated from. 

Since then, there’s been a lot of controversy over whether or not the president should have taken such swift action against the base, which belonged to the Assad regime.  Of course, the Syrian rebels have been fighting against Bashar al-Assad since 2011. 

Many are uncertain that Assad was truly to blame for the chemical attack, but looking through history, it isn’t impossible at all.  In 2013, a similar attack, led by the Assad regime, killed over 1,400 individuals.  A handful of other chemical attacks were also led by the same group.

Also in 2013, President Barack Obama moved to begin airstrikes against Assad after the chemical attacks crossed the former president’s “red line,” but backed down later, failing to punish Assad.  Then Secretary of State John Kerry stated that, “History will judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turn a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction,” Kerry noted (theguardian.com).

I couldn’t agree more, but Obama soon backed down on his threats and let Assad continue toeing his red line. 

This was a disastrous move, as described by, perhaps, one of the most important voices to consider in this mess.  Meet Kassem Eid, a survivor of the 2013 chemical attacks.  I was truly touched by his perspective, and I hope you are too. 

Eid stated, just before Trump’s airstrikes, that “He [Obama] broke his promise…he broke a lot of hearts in Syria…Nobody’s going to punish him [Assad], just for once….Please, Mr. President, [Trump] in the name of every woman and child and elder who got killed by the Assad regime, please come in and help us.  Don’t make the same mistake that President Obama did…we can’t just keep living in these unprecedented crimes against humanity…Please help us.  Go after the man who created all of this mess.  It’s Bashar Assad.  Don’t make the same mistake President Obama

did.  Don’t let Assad walk away,”  TheBlaze from CNN.

On Saturday, Eid spoke to a CNN anchor via Skype in order to comment on Trump’s actions.  He attempted to draw his attention to a past statement by Hillary Clinton suggesting that Trump was hypocritical for not helping Syrian refugees, but the interview went a little off-course when Eid’s perspective was quite powerfully presented.  He stated that “I saw the news.  I cried out of joy.  I thanked God…We’ve been asking for protection.  We’ve been asking for consequences for more than six years and today for the first time it happened….we see Assad held accountable just for once…for his crimes against humanity.  I felt grateful for President Trump…Obama’s inaction in Syria…that made us refugees get kicked out of Syria.  If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please, help us stay in our country….We don’t want to come to [the] United States.  We want to stay in our country, with all due respect…We don’t want to become refugees.  We want to stay in our country.  Help us establish safe zones.” 

He finished his statements by thanking President Trump for holding Assad accountable and punishing him, for seeing the atrocities that Syrians have been put through over the past several years (CNN). What this news anchor did not mention, however, is that—at a women’s conference just hours before the air strikes—Clinton called on Trump to launch an attack against Assad.  (CNN).  Her former running mate Tim Kaine also called for action. 

I was on the fence about the air strikes.  It is a necessary course of action to prevent the very terrorist attacks (chemical) the U.S. has feared since 9/11, but the impact of the airstrike was unclear to me until I saw Eid’s statements.  This is how we solve the Syrian refugee crisis while preventing ISIS terrorists from coming in along with innocents (ISIS, as I have mentioned in articles prior, has threatened to use refugee applications in order to get into the U.S.). 

This is how we help the masses of innocent victims.  Certainly it’s ugly, it’s a dangerous waltz with Russia, who backs Assad, but it’s necessary.  A PragerU video titled “Why America Must Lead”—which I highly recommend watching on YouTube—touches on the importance of the U.S. involvement in other countries’ wars.  It explains the history of the U.S., stating that times when wars were being waged and the U.S. didn’t step up to the plate, we were eventually attacked too (Pearl Harbor, for example). 

If we have the resources and the power to do so, we must not retreat. 

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