Whether we as a country like it or not, we have always been considered the watchdog of the world. And we’ve taken on that role. We’ve kept our eyes peeled. We’ve kept our ears open. We’ve kept our troops ready.
Most of the time, this is a role to be proud of. And after all, most of the time it makes sense. America, land of the free, home of the brave. What better nation to watch out for the rest of the world, right?
Reacting first to dangerous, threatening situations comes along with being the watchdog of the world. Sometimes this is a great thing, we can save innocent lives, we can make a difference. But sometimes this self-appointed title is a not so good thing. Take for example, the war on terror that got us involved in Iraq and Afghanistan for over 10 years. Some say this was a situation that could have been avoided if we had been patient.
But watchdogs aren’t patient. Watchdogs react when they feel that something or someone they need to protect is being threatened.
So here we are again on the brink of a war. Is there a valid reason? Yes, of course.
It was established in the Geneva Protocol that the use of chemical weapons was prohibited. The protocol was created in 1925 and banned the use of, “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices.”
Syria broke this protocol when it used chemical weapons against its citizens.
On Aug. 21, footage was spread over numerous social media sites showing graphic and gruesome images of innocent people suffering. Not only did these innocents suffer, but they died.
It’s important to note that before this chemical attack happened, Syria was in the midst of a civil war. President Bashar al-Assad could have just been trying to get his country in control. He could have also been harming innocent people for no reason.
Under the Geneva Protocol, this action is strictly prohibited.
So what do we as watchdogs do? We intervene.
At first it seemed like the only options were to attack Syria or not attack Syria.
Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.
Now of course there are pros and cons to each of these decisions. We, as a staff, feel like there was no singular right decision.
As a country, we have appointed ourselves as the watchdogs. This means we have to do something when things get messy. However, nobody wants to see American boots on Syrian soil.
Is it right to stand by and watch innocent people get hurt for no reason? No, of course not.
But is it fair to us as a country to get involved in something we didn’t ask to be nor want to be involved in? No, of course not.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Despite being stuck between a rock and a hard place, President Obama has at least made a choice.
Last Tuesday, he made an address to the nation stating that if Syria did not put its weapons under international control like Russia had suggested, we would follow through with a targeted military strike.
Obama said that this wouldn’t be like another Afghanistan. That this time there is significant proof that these weapons are being used. Obama also said that even though there is potential that this targeted strike could happen, American boots will not touch the ground; everything will be from the air.
Obama, knowing that this wasn’t the popular decision with congress or the American people, followed through with this decision anyway.
Do we, as a staff, want to see America in any way go to Syria? No.
However, we respect the fact that our Commander-in-Chief is standing his ground. Whether or not Obama decided to intervene with Syria, there would have been backlash.
So is it better to feel guilty and do nothing to help the innocent people even though we have that power, or to interfere with a country that we have no need to and potentially start another war?
There is no right answer. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
What we hope for is the diplomacy to follow suit. We hope that this war type situation can be avoided. We hope that Americans don’t have to go to Syria. We hope that although we have to power to protect the innocent Syrians, we don’t have to use it.