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Syria in Crisis

Reed Waxham

The Vista Voice. Folsom, CA

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Intense burning. Excruciating suffocating. Painfull death. The effects of nerve gas on the human body. President Obama confirmed Wednesday in an interview with PBS that the United States has “concluded” that the al-Assad regime in Syria has used chemical weapons against its own people.

“We do not believe that…the opposition could have carried out these attacks. We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” Obama told PBS’s “NewsHour.”

“And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences,” Obama added.

This comes following previous acknowledgements by the Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Syrian government forces targeted civilian men, women and children with chemical nerve agents.

Despite this acknowledgement the President said that he has “not made a decision” about possible military intervention in the crisis.

The death toll related to the latest chemical weapons attack could be hundreds if not thousands. Adding to the more than 100,000 that already have been estimated to have died in the crisis.

Videos of the masses of children that died in the attack have surfaced on the internet, giving us a glimpse of the atrocities that have taken place.

In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll only 9% of Americans favored U.S. military intervention in the Syrian conflict. I don’t know what they aren’t seeing. By using the chemical weapons, Syria is violating international law and committing large scale state-sponsored homicide.

Have they not scene the horrifying images of children lying dead in the streets, mothers crying over their infants bodies, and families being shattered by loss?

We can put an end to the violence.

The U.S. has intervened in the crisis on a small scale. That is no longer enough. We need to act.

Four U.S. Navy frigates and one British submarine are currently off the coast of Syria at the ready. Targeted missile strikes on high value military and government installations in Syria could be enough to turn the tides of the revolution.

Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote in a letter to President Obama that “…we can do this with no boots on the ground, from stand-off distances,”

He was basing that off an assessment from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who said that the U.S. could conduct targeted air strikes that could virtually decimate the entire Syrian air force.

What are we waiting for?

I believe that the President will ultimately make the right call and participate in a meaningfully intervention. I just hope that the actions the Obama administration take go far enough. Our goal should be to oust Bashar al-Assad. We need to draw a firm line in the sand on chemical weapons.

A red-line has been crossed. We need to make it clear that the United States and the international community will not tolerate such senseless acts of violence by a government against its own people.

This article is written by The Vista Voice, the Folsom, CA chapter of MinorsVote.com.

Image Origin: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/130823190258-syria-chemical-attack-story-top.jpg

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