Are missiles now included in humanitarian aid kits?
In response to another alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, the U.S. led airstrikes April 14 with the support of the U.K. and France. The missiles targeted three facilities associated with the creation of the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.
Despite warnings from the likes of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who was concerned that a missile strike could provoke Bashar al-Assad’s allies in Russia and Iran, the airstrikes were launched without the requisite congressional approval.
The airstrikes this month seem eerily familiar to those ordered by President Donald Trump almost exactly a year ago April 7. Despite the president boasting in April 2017 that such actions would prevent the Assad regime from committing another chemical weapons attack, we find ourselves in the same situation yet again.
The Syrian civil war has continued to rage, and the Assad regime has not lost its resolve in the conflict. Airstrikes are not the way to end Syrian people’s suffering.
The missile strikes have proven ineffective in thwarting chemical weapon attacks, but these actions are a symbol of continuing U.S. reign over foreign nations and stoking conflict..
Ultimately, the airstrikes failing to prevent further casualties at the hands of the Assad regime has encouraged the same form of U.S. intervention. Rather than looking for other solutions or putting more effort into humanitarian aid, the U.S. government continues unproductive missile campaigns under the guise of compassion for Syrians. But it continues to thrust its weight as a military powerhouse and guarantee it can flaunt its weaponry yet again when the next atrocity occurs, without actually addressing the problem.
Although Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, announced April 17 Trump was pushing for U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria during a classified session, $15.3 billion in the Department of Defense’s 2019 fiscal year budget has been allocated for U.S. operations in the country. This exceeds allocations of recent years.
The U.S. is prepared to be involved in Syria more than ever before, and as these airstrikes have shown, such involvement will be sold to the public as humanitarian efforts.
But military action is not humanitarian. Bombings will only deepen tensions—which have already been evident after Iran and Russia condemned the April 14 airstrikes—and give the U.S. government a reason to deprive federal agencies of funding that can help disenfranchised Americans so it can needlessly funnel money into an already gargantuan military budget.
If the U.S. government truly wanted to support those victimized by the Assad regime, and if the president believed “this is about humanity,” as he said April 10, then why were only 11 Syrian refugees accepted into the country this year?
The U.S. continues to demonize and reject the very population it has claimed to fight for with these airstrikes and has denied them the possibility of escaping the war with a xenophobic immigration policy.
We must fight for Syrians, but we should choose to arm ourselves with empathy, aid and welcoming policy—not missiles.