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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Should the US Intervene in Syria?

This topic seems to be approaching inevitability. As news reports of massacre and crimes against humanity pour out of Syria, the discussion about US involvement will increasingly become more important. The UN has tried and failed to curb the violence between pro-government and rebel forces, and sadly, civilians are paying the price.

I (and the other admins of this blog) do not yet have an opinion on this issue. I'm not terribly knowledgeable in this subject, and I prefer (though not entirely) to stick to economic analysis. With that, I wanted to open up a debate forum that is centered on this issue. I think it's an important national/international subject, and I don't want it to go unnoticed and un-discussed. I also think that if people come here to share their opinions on both sides, we can all learn more about this situation.

What do you think? Should we intervene at all? If we did, how should we do it? I've heard of many possible solutions from arming the rebels to a full out attack on the Bashar regime. Should we stay out of this altogether? Would another conflict spread us too thin?

This is an open forum; all comments and opinions are greatly appreciated.


  1. Um yes. Hello!?? People are being murdered and we are just sitting here playing with out thumbs. How can we possibly be ok with all these innocent women and children dying? We MUST stop the Syrian government from killing more and more people. If we have to go to war again, as bad as that sounds, it's for good.

  2. Very good debate question, LME. I'm torn, too. Human lives and good deeds are big, but can we just keep invading other countries and keep getting involved? There are high costs associated with all these conflicts. But again, it's thousands of innocent people dying? But, if 10 more countries go down this path, can we keep getting involved? How thinly would we be spread.

    And no, I don't want to hear the "well, we can just send in NATO or the UN" or something. Those forces are made up primarily of US forces, so it's really no difference.

    Looking for other viewpoints though. I'm seriously torn. My thoughts and prayers go out to Syrians.

  3. No, we can't afford to continue to play the police of the world whenever we find someone or some idea easy to paint as a bad guy. We do this all the time. If the UN manages to agree on a joint effort (which I understand is very unlikely), then I can agree with our participation in a cooperative effort with other countries, but until then I don't agree with us attempting to resolve or do it ourselves.

    This is what the UN is for, and useless though they may be at times it’s not our responsibility to always have to step in and/or lead the charge.

    I fully understand and greatly sympathize with the fact that innocent people are dying, and there are no words for how tragic and devastating the events in Syria truly are. But we can't continually attempt to solve the world's problems for them; particularly when we are struggling so much in solving our own.

    If we responded every time crimes against humanity were committed and/or the United States was called to take action, we would be in constant war for decades (not counting the ‘war on terror’). The fact of the matter is that this kind of cruel treatment isn’t unique to Syria; it happens all over the world, every day. The only reason we’re all so riled up about Syria in particular is because of all the media coverage surrounding it as a result of its proximity to growing areas of interest, easy fodder in sensationalism, and ties to the Arab Spring.

    There are dozens of other countries, particularly in Africa, where similar crimes against humanity are being committed. Why are they any less important? Why aren’t we involved there? What’s to stop us from being called to action there next (we already have actually; just that the media hasn’t taken the reins on it yet)? Where do we draw the line?

    The fact of the matter is that no amount of reasonable money or military effort will bring a corrupt third-world country up to the levels of civility and humanitarianism of a first world, and attempting to change that is an impossible task that would leave our own people ignored and our country bankrupt.

    This isn’t to say we should just ignore everyone else and only focus on ourselves (though I admittedly prefer that extreme to the opposing), but it is to say that we should recognize when it is more important to resolve our own issues first. And this is one of those times.

  4. the world according to rken.

    no, we cannot save peoples lives even if they are dying. but we can sure take tax money and spend it to kill babies with abortions.

    1. I realize you're senselessly trolling, but the tax aspect is actually part of the problem.

      We should never go to war or get heavily involved in a country’s affairs without real consequences and trade-offs felt by our country. We’re so numbed and detached from war now that people don’t really care what we do, or even put much forethought into it.

      It used to be that when we as a nation went to war there were strict changes the entire nation felt in some way; taxes increased across the board, a draft was instituted, and certain goods/services/supplies were rationed. Now, hardly 1% of the population is directly affected.

      Why not go to war for everything when we can go about or day to day exactly the same as before? And then feel better about ourselves for ‘saving lives’ in some foreign country while doing nothing at all! Since only 1% of the people are really the ones put in danger/making sacrifices.

      This shouldn’t be the case; not just because of above but also because of how fiscally irresponsible it is to continually pay for these efforts with mass amounts of debt. Short of extreme circumstances, at the very least taxes should be increased across the board to pay for any foreign involvements (as in WWII).

      I seriously wonder how many people calling for involvement in Syria would no longer be yelling as loudly (if at all) if it also meant that everyone had to pay a 10% war tax, and their children would potentially be subjected to a draft. I can guarantee it would be less.

    2. Yup RKen your right, we just go to war and act like nothing is happening we all post our flag pictures on the holiday's and send chain emails about the troops but nobody will put the money up to pay for it or recognize the fact that we have killed millions to avenge thousands.

      We can't afford another war. Let the CIA do their thing in the background. Cyber warfare ect.

    3. You called out someone else on here for not backing what they say. Where is your backing?

      "We have killed millions?" What are you talking about? If we are at war, then isn't killing many (maybe millions) enemy combatants trying to kill us ok? But still, what are you talking about?

    4. Anna, you actually bring up another interesting topic that is perhaps under the radar of most.

      You'll notice that any article involving drone strikes or our military forces and the like, will near always refer to "x number of militants were killed." But what many people are ignorant to is that a militant as defined by the Obama administration, is any military-age male in a combat zone.

      16y/o teenager with no involvement/ties/history whatsoever to Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization, killed by a drone strike that hit 5 other people on the way to school? 'Drone strike kills another 6 militants'

      This type of wartime propaganda is of course not unique to this administration and has been going on for a long time, but the point still stands that many of these ‘militants’ or ‘enemy combatants’ are innocent people as well.

  5. Anna thanks for saying something your right i should not make claims like that without links.

    With that said i exaggerated the number and appreciate you saying something cause the point can be made with the actual statistics and me exaggerating them takes away from the point I was trying to make.

    Civilian casualties rang from 200k to 1 million +.

    the point is we killed more innocent people than were killed on 9/11, Let alone the amount of our own troops that were killed and injured.

    "The United States has now endured what by some measures is the longest period of war in its history, with more than 6,300 American troops killed and 46,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ultimate costs estimated at $3 trillion."

    1. Citing tabloids? Good call. You look really dumb now. So 6,300 + 46,000 somehow is close to a million.

      This analysis, from 2007, says that the cost of the wars would equal $2.4trillion by 2017, but for some reason, this horseshit article on the new york times (without citing where he got this number) claims it's $3trillion now? How funny.

      What about this:

      If you actually look at what has been passed? Hmmm take a look at this:

      Now add up the ACTUAL (omg facts) numbers per year of the war:

      See also: Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund
      FY2003 Supplemental: Operation Iraqi Freedom: Passed April 2003; Total $78.5 billion, $54.4 billion Iraq War
      FY2004 Supplemental: Iraq and Afghanistan Ongoing Operations/Reconstruction: Passed November 2003; Total $87.5 billion, $70.6 billion Iraq War
      FY2004 DoD Budget Amendment: $25 billion Emergency Reserve Fund (Iraq Freedom Fund): Passed July 2004, Total $25 billion, $21.5 billion (estimated) Iraq War
      FY2005 Emergency Supplemental: Operations in the War on Terror; Activities in Afghanistan; Tsunami Relief: Passed April 2005, Total $82 billion, $58 billion (estimated) Iraq War
      FY2006 Department of Defense appropriations: Total $50 billion, $40 billion (estimated) Iraq War.
      FY2006 Emergency Supplemental: Operations Global War on Terror; Activities in Iraq & Afghanistan: Passed February 2006, Total $72.4 billion, $60 billion (estimated) Iraq War
      FY2007 Department of Defense appropriations: $70 billion(estimated) for Iraq War-related costs[5][6]
      FY2007 Emergency Supplemental (proposed) $100 billion
      FY2008 Bush administration has proposed around $190 billion for the Iraq War and Afghanistan[7]
      FY2009 Obama administration has proposed around $130 billion in additional funding for the Iraq War and Afghanistan.[8]
      FY2011 Obama administration proposes around $159.3 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.[9]

      How funny. About $130 billion per year, for 10 years - $1.3 trillion. Oh look. My little cost of war counter website seems a little more accurate than your tabloid, no source quoting posts.

      Grow up. You don't know anything, and you really shouldn't talk econ or politics AT ALL.

    2. dara i was talking about casualties

      how did you get on the cost of war?

      What are you even talking about.

      I could care less what the war costs it does not matter.

      None of us have paid for it yet anyways cause MR BUSH and MR OBAMA live in a world were they can fight wars and not even worry about the money...

    3. Apparently you missed the 3 trillion part in your clueless rant:

      "The United States has now endured what by some measures is the longest period of war in its history, with more than 6,300 American troops killed and 46,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ultimate costs estimated at $3 trillion."

      And I'm Anna. Put the weed down. You're talking even more like an idiot.

    4. anna sorry i forget you can't read. That was a quote to back up the claim about american troop loss.

      I understand that sentence was long and was hard for you to understand. Its ok its not your fault. Its a normal effect of being a right wing lemming you loose normal ability to understand full paragraphs.

      keep up the good work anna , remember one sentence at a time deary. I recommend reading glasses awell mabee?

  6. I'm torn as well. It just eats me up that they're killing their own citizens; women, kids, just slaughtering everyone.

    Although I hurt for those poor people, I can't see how we could afford to get into another conflict... And it's not the money, our guys/gals are spread pretty thin as it is - and they've got to be battle-weary by now. Add in the cuts to OUR military and Iran's sabre-rattling...and I do NOT trust Russia who's against our involvement (who knows why - but I suspect it has something to do with Iran.)

    I don't know, maybe it's just me - but something about that whole mess over there 'feels' wrong... trapdoor spider kind of wrong.

    And @LoyaltyWatcher - If you plan to cut and paste progressive propaganda nonsense and then call BS on someone - by name - when they prove you wrong - please make sure you get the RIGHT poster.

  7. What about other places in the world where similar things break out? I understand both sides of the argument, but we are deeply in debt, and we simply cannot afford millions (or even billions) of dollars every time some dictator decides to declare war on his own people. Sorry, we are told that Social Security will be bankrupt in a few years, and that I probably won't see any, even though I've been paying into it for 34 years. So, no, we have to take care of our own nation first. If someone thinks that's selfish, then so be it.

    We pump a lot of money into the United Nations, they should be the ones handling this kind of situation. (They sure don't do much else for us.)

    1. You make some really good points. Welcome to the discussion. Well said, sir!

    2. yes great points. well said. we need more levelheaded guys like jim mckee inputting here.