Early this summer in July, long before students were thinking about the oncoming school year, Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad had launched a chemical weapons attack on the rebel forces inside Syria that killed more than 1,400 civilians and launched the US into chaos. The reasons for Syria’s attack involve its deep historical background and very diverse culture, though one thing is for sure: the US must quickly decide what we will do, if we do anything to make sure that such war crimes are never again committed.
Syria is in the midst of a civil war. It’s killed more than 2 million refugees, about half of them children. The war started with antigovernment protests inspired by revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, but turned horribly wrong when security forces started to kill activists and open fire on protests. Many believed the government was overreacting, but it only escalated from there. The civilians started to fight back, some forming armed rebel forces, but the army held fire, shelling and bombing whole neighborhoods and towns and consequently terrorizing people into submission. It is speculated that the killing won’t cease until there has been a rebalance of power; a balance that was essentially corrupted when Al-Assad refused to update his regime, leaving him with nothing to fall back on but the power to kill.
Upon discovery of the current state of Syria and its involvement with chemical weapons, Obama made the decision to strike against Syria, which immediately brought on a wave of support before the criticisms began. At this point it looked like the US was headed for a warzone. However, as the weeks progressed the window for action passed and the amount of supporters waned.
On Tuesday September 10th, President Obama had asked Congress to hold off on voting for a military strike and announced a proposal with Russia that Syria will give up their chemical weapons, preventing any further attacks and ultimately keeping the US out of the war.
Students at our school are forming strong opinions on the issue. Mckenna Manness, a senior at SLV stated, “I feel pity for Syrian civilians, but I don’t want our country involved militarily.” Not only students feel strongly, but the faculty as well. Ross Parmenter said, “The fact that you would use chemical weapons is disgusting. When I heard Obama wanted to strike I was apprehensive. Because of his history with Iraq, I had a feeling he wouldn’t want to enter into a war.”
Teachers are also forming opinions on the outcome of the war. Cindy Martinez, a government teacher at SLV says, “I think we’re headed towards a diplomatic solution,” after President Obama announced the proposal with Russia.
Whatever the outcome will be, students at SLV will be involved. As Mr. Parameter says, “My hope is that we adhere to the United Nations. But I think our country’s outcome really depends on the next election and what this generation decides to do in terms of voting.” That means that, as apart of the next generation of voters, upper and lower classmen alike will eventually have a say in what our country will do. This is why senior Sam Van Pykeren says, “I encourage everyone to read about it and educate themselves on what’s going on. Its something that our generation has to deal with.” We here at the Claw hope that our readers follow his advice and learn as much as they can. History is in the making.