I first started paying attention to the civil war in Syria when the body count was 3,000. Back then it wasn’t yet a civil war, there was no Free Syrian Army to begin with, so it hadn’t yet splintered off into seven separate factions. I had heard that essentially the Syrian people were trying to do what the people of Egypt did during the Arab Spring of 2011. The difference in this case was, the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad ordered his military to open fire and execute all of the protesting civilians. I noticed each day the body count went up by the hundreds, not by the dozens. I noticed when the body count exceeded that of 9/11/01.
I never stopped paying attention to Syria, anyone who frequents my Twitter account would certainly agree with me. The sheer numbers of dead, wounded, and refugees has never ceased to boggle my mind. What happened in Libya and Egypt definitely led to me focusing even more on Syria. I think, without judgment, those two had the opposite effect on most people. I understand completely the fatigue of the American public after over a full decade of seeing wars in the Middle East. Afghanistan and Iraq, each day a new bombing, another dozen or more dead, more money spent (or missing) abroad, more fear mongering at home. I empathize rather than demonize the public who just seem to not care about Syria, after all there is no oil there.
The American public’s desire to not care about Syria was only aided by the fact that the main stream media didn’t focus on the country’s civil war, despite the staggering body count, until after the sarin gas attack last month. If you get your news from the internet, then you can’t not know about Syria for at least a full year. Even the websites of NBC, CBS, FOX News, and CNN have had regular stories about the conflict, the television stations they are subsidiaries of however, did not. If you get your news from newspapers or magazines, you’ve known about Syria since maybe the beginning of this year. TIME magazine, the New York Times, and Chicago Tribune have all had front page stories on Syria that I have seen with my own eyes.
Now, in September of 2013 only the young and the ignorant don’t know about the situation in Syria. It is the lead story online, in print, and on television. Local news, national news, cable news are all leading with Syria. I am happy that the light is finally getting shined on this very bleak and black news story. The death and destruction match any conflict in recent memory. Syria’s civil war is not an indie band that just got signed to a major label, I’m not proud that I was calling for US intervention before it was cool. But I am a supporter of US intervention.
I was not a supporter of Operation Desert Storm or it’s much less successful sequel. I was a supporter of intervention in Kosovo. I was not a supporter of invading Afghanistan after 9/11 since it was not a country that attacked the United States. I was a supporter of the small scale, special operation, tactical assassination of Osama bin Laden which I believe should be the blueprint for all of the military presence of the United States in the Middle East for the last decade should have been. I was not a supporter of our involvement in Libya. I am a supporter of the intervention in Syria.
I wish I had a year and a half backlog of blogs and articles to show the consistency of my stance on this issue, but I don’t. I wish all of my writings on the topic would give me some credibility with anyone who reads this article, but I don’t. I haven’t been writing for anything other than academic purposes for the last two years. Syria is a major factor in changing that. I thought the United States military should have intervened over a year ago. We have after all, along with the United Nations, been arming the rebels. That is going half pregnant, either we support the rebels or we don’t. Since Obama has proven to be just as much a supporter of the Military Industrial Complex as his predecessors, then let’s put that machine to use when literally hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are being slaughtered.
I long for the day we as a country are officially isolationist, with an eye on the military operations of other countries akin to what is happening in outer space. The money we need to pump into our schools, bridges, roads, and social safety net programs is being spent on a rubber stamped military industrial complex budget every year. I will be the first to say spend that money at home and not abroad. I’d love to have an embassy in every country and not a military base. Until that day comes, and by day I mean peaceful upheaval of basically everyone in power in national office, America is the World Police. If we are going to play World Police so we can control the price of oil, then we can play world police for thousands of innocent civilians being slaughtered every day.
What should be and what is, believe it or not aren’t always the same thing. I think it is the right thing to do to get the chemical weapons from being used against civilians, and we should do something to help all of the refugees. I’ll have much more to write on Syria, so I won’t write a novel’s worth of material in this one post. I am happy to be in a position where I both want to and can go on writing for a long period of time. It was a long trip to get to this point. I needed to reignite the fire within me that had dimmed to a searing hot coal. I needed flames, the situations involving Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden applied the gasoline after Syria stoked the ambers…