Cheering and champagne glasses can be heard clinking as the media and elite of Washington D.C. celebrate President Donald Trump’s strike against the Syrian government in Damascus.
There is clear bipartisan support that emerges every time an opportunity to bomb more nations or topple more dictators comes along. This group of Republicans and Democrats is what I consider the War Party.
The War Party benefits greatly from the media who regularly beat the war drums during these events, promoting imperialism and regularly suppressing non-interventionist positions.
This weekend, President Trump announced the joint effort between the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), and France to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al Assad that the use of chemical weapons would not be tolerated.
The recent chemical attack occurred in the rebel-held city of Douma and has been allegedly carried out by the Assad regime, despite a lacking of clear evidence.
The compelling pro-war media narrative has convinced the general public that the evil dictator Assad has ruthlessly used chemical weapons against his own people for the only practical reason of sport. The answer to this ruthless crime against humanity is to attack the Assad regime, regardless of any repercussions with Russia (an ally of Assad), and that this cannot go unanswered.
To the War Party, this is where the story ends. This is not the reality.
The narrative will often push non-interventionists into a corner, claiming that our only answer is “to do nothing”. This is because if we discussed the historical context of these conflicts their narrative fails to withstand.
In August 2011, former President Obama announced that ‘Assad Must Go’. Obama and western allies had decided that it is time for President Assad to step aside. Interestingly enough, WikiLeaks cables revealed to us that the US has been supporting Syrian anti-Assad groups as early as 2006.
The Syrian Arab Spring quickly spiraled into what is now the Syrian Civil War, especially between 2012 and 2013 as the war escalated.
We are aware that the CIA’s covert program often resulted in aid landing in the hands of many of the radical jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front, and even ISIS. This program was reportedly ended by President Trump in July of 2017.
As the War Party consistently called for taking out Assad, ISIS was growing in the region. It is extremely reasonable to conclude that if we had toppled the Syrian regime then ISIS would certainly have taken the country.
After seven years, Assad has survived waging a brutal civil war against countless rebel factions and proxy forces who wish to see him dethroned. Assad has so far avoided the fate of Mummar Gaddafi in Libya, who also fell under the US’ crosshairs for regime change. The result of intervention in Libya has resulted in a failed state run rampant with militants and open slave trades.
This brief overview of the Syrian Civil War strongly suggests there is much more to it than protecting civilians or upholding international laws on chemical weapons. The US has been calling and pushing for regime change in Syria for years.
The War Party’s rush to attack Assad for using chemical weapons without waiting for clear evidence can lead us to believe that this is likely an effort to continue the US pattern of toppling Middle Eastern governments.
Why do we allow the US military to provide an air force to al-Qaeda in Syria? By taking out Assad, this is the side we are allying ourselves with. We shouldn’t have to remind anyone that it was al-Qaeda who attacked us on 9/11.
Non-interventionists don’t want to necessarily ally with Assad, but we certainly do not want to ally with al-Qaeda either. Our answer isn’t ‘do nothing’ either.
The non-interventionist answer is stop arming radical jihadists, stop toppling governments, and bring home our troops.
There is no reason we cannot help diplomatically establish a resolution or peace process. However, the US instigated this war and has resulted in the deaths of over half a million people, over ten million displaced, and millions who have fled the country. Decades of involvement in the Middle East has not made America safer or put ‘America First’.
Bobby Fortune is a Young Americans for Liberty – North Carolina State Chair and student at East Carolina University pursuing a B.S. in Security Studies/Political Science