KATIE ZERR: Can airstrikes eliminate the problems in Syria?


As we watch the United States being pulled into yet another Middle East conflict, we wonder what any action taken against the Syrian government will accomplish and what the future holds for our military.

History has proven that airstrikes can lead to years of involvement and billions of taxpayer’s dollars, much of which is wasted.

The Obama Administration, with the support of some members of Congress, is set to strike the Assad regime for their crimes against humanity.

Anyone who saw the distorted bodies of the Syrian people, men, women and children, in the grotesque death masks caused by the chemical weapons, would have had the immediate response that those responsible must be punished.

Maher al-Assad, the younger brother of the president of Syria, commands the regime’s Republican Guard and the elite unit that the opposition reported had launched the chemical attack on the eastern Ghouta.

According to “The Cable” website, in the hours after the attack, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, according to the website. American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Syrian government.

Yet the Assad regime still denies they were responsible.

As the U.S. military prepares for airstrikes in Syria, Americans are questioning if there are limits of those actions. Are the plans similar to “shock and awe” strikes that will last for months until the Assad regime is forced out? Or will the airstrikes be surgical against military posts and chemical stockpiles so that he can never again use them on his own people?

Military officials are warning against taking action without a plan, for what happens in the aftermath? Taking out Syria’s chemical weapons caches can trigger more problems that may be dangerous to the Syrian people. The escaping gases after such an attack could also cause death and anguish to the civilian population, officials warn.

Some indications are that the targets will be military and command posts, including artillery and missile units that could launch chemical weapons.

And if the U.S. succeeds in wiping out the Assad’s military power, who would be there to take over the government and ensure the Al-Qaeda-linked rebels would not get control of the regime’s chemical weapons? Is what is in the future for Syria, after the airstrikes decimate Assad’s military, better than allowing Assad to stay in power?

What happens if the airstrikes cause another irrational act from the Assad regime? If the U.S. airstrikes don’t wipe Assad’s ability to continue to fight, more Syrian civilians may die as Assad’s bloody war against those who oppose him goes on.

Will retaliatory strikes teach Assad a lesson or trigger more inhumane acts we know this regime has no quandaries about committing?

As we wait to hear what the reaction in the United Nations will be we wonder if going cowboy once again will lead to another military disaster in the Middle East. Have we not learned anything from the 10 years of war in which we became entrenched with the last military airstrikes?

This administration is between a rock and hard place. We cannot just sit idly by while the Syrian government kills its own people with chemical weapons, yet why should it be the U.S. and not the world that takes up the fight?

The Europeans, Arab nations, Asian and South American nations must all condemn this act and squash any attempts by Russia to save the Assad regime. Does the U.S. have the responsibility to step in whenever there is a conflict in the Middle East?

There are no clear answers only more questions.

The first and foremost should be are we ready to sacrifice more of our men and women on actions that will not have the desired outcome?

If we go into Syria only to punish Assad, without a clear and concise plan for what follows, we are making the same mistakes the Bush Administration made.

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