by Sarah Willson
One of the most horrifying images I have ever seen was projected onto my television screen at approximately 9 p.m. on a Friday night. As much as I should have expected it, it took me by surprise.
President Donald Trump had warned the Syrian regime that there would be severe consequences regarding the recent chemical attack on Syria that killed dozens of people. Though many, including myself, had believed it was an empty threat, it wasn’t until the air strikes lit up the night sky that I had realized just what exactly the United States had gotten itself into. We had launched airstrikes on Syria under a Trump presidency before, but this time seemed to be much different; the country was suffering more now than they had in the recent past. Now, we’re just making it worse.
Though I understand that diplomacy doesn’t always work, violence should never be the next step, especially when it comes to a region that is already so broken. Despite the fact that Trump has said he had done everything in his power to limit American and civilian casualties, that still isn’t enough.
As of now, we are bombing a country we won’t take refugees from. That’s a problem; we are facing a time where the Syrian people need our help now more than ever. The U.S. alone has had the upper hand in destroying a large portion of the country and are only continuing to do so still. If nothing good came from the first air strike done nearly a year ago, what makes the president believe this time will be any different?
There are logistical issues in this, too. Though Defense Secretary James Mattis said he is “confident” that the U.S. hit the “heart” of Syria’s nuclear weapon program, that doesn’t mean he knows that for sure. If the attacks were to have been carried out by the Islamic State, that’s a whole different ballgame. Even with this, Mattis said he was unsure as to whether or not the chemical weapons will intoxicate the air, further hurting innocent civilians.
Now, in a time of crisis, Trump needs to follow in former President Barack Obama’s footsteps in order to move towards creating peace.
The Iran Nuclear Deal, though unpopular among many conservatives, has proved to be one of the most successful power deals in U.S. history. Ongoing since 2015, the program has drastically reduced Iran’s nuclear capabilities and kept both Americans and the Iranian people safer in the process.
Though this may be difficult for Trump to comprehend, one of the best things he can do is imitate Obama, at least in this instance. Like Iran, the U.S. needs to be a friend for those in Syria, not just another enemy. Physically attacking the country is only going to make matters worse in the long-run.
It is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking to watch innocent civilians be gassed to death by their own people. It’s even worse to watch innocent civilians be bombed to death by my own country. We need to find another way.