What Should The U.S. Do In Syria? So Many Questions!

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Syria.

100,000 dead. 2 million refugees. 4 million displaced. And now the use of chemical weapons.

The graphics below have numbers that have changed since their creation but each of them helps us understand just a bit more about the horrible crisis in Syria.

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CNN reported: “In Jordan, it’s illegal for refugees to work, so some families have gone into deep debt to keep their children alive, Save the Children said. A 46-year-old refugee in Lebanon described the plight of his family, who has spent the past year living in an old sheep shed. ‘I cry in my heart. I feel depressed. It’s unjust. Is there a worse way to live than this?’ the refugee, identified as Ahmed, told the aid group. ‘Our situation is terrible to the maximum. We didn’t expect there were humans who could live the way we are living.'”

I have personally sat with Syrian refugees in Jordan and heard their stories. It is heartbreaking.

The question of the hour is:

What should the U.S. do in Syria?

This blog post is more about questions than answers.

I want to hear what you think.

I want to hear from Muslims and Christians, from people in the U.S. and people in the Middle East.

Here are my questions:

*** Should the U.S. launch a limited military strike against Bashar al-Assad?

*** If the U.S. strikes Syria, what will be the reaction of Iran?

*** If the U.S. does not strike, what will tyrants and dictators around the world feel about our lack of action in the face of their lawless, despicable acts?

*** If Assad is removed by force, who will rule over Syria? There are over 20 different groups – including Hezbollah and al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra – fighting against the Assad government? Which of them will control the country if the U.S. helps to topple Assad?

*** How do you feel about President Obama’s handling of this crisis in Syria? What are your reactions to his speech last night? How can he keep his promise that he will not put “boots on the ground” in Syria?

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*** Should the U.S. work with Russia and President Putin on ridding Syria of chemical weapons to avert a U.S. military strike? If that plan to dismantle his chemical arsenal should happen, what will change in how Assad leads his country? If he ceases to use gas, won’t he continue to use bullets and bombs against his own people?

*** When you see pictures or videos of victims in Syria (alleged use of chemical weapons on August 21st that killed more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children), how does it affect your opinion of what action the U.S. should take?

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*** Is the U.S. the “policeman” of the world? Should they be?

*** When is military force by the U.S. justified around the world?

*** According to polls, why are so many Americans so against U.S. military action in Syria?

*** Why is the international community so against a U.S. military strike in Syria?

*** Why aren’t we helping the victims of dictators in Africa by using military force against them?

*** What can be done diplomatically that has not already been tried before in this Syrian crisis?

*** Finally, what do our books say? The Qur’an. The Bible. Do they have anything to say about situations such as this?

In the Tawrat, God says to Cain after he has murdered Abel, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” (Genesis 4:10)

What should the U.S. do in Syria?

So many questions!

(Please leave a reply by clicking on the button below. You can use a nickname, a pseudonym, or your real name.)

20 thoughts on “What Should The U.S. Do In Syria? So Many Questions!

    • Peter, thank you. As the Scriptures say:

      “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (the book of James in the Bible, chapter 2, verses 14-17).

        • Yes, the little book of James is in the New Testament. Here is some background about this James (there is more than one James in the New Testament).

          James was actually a half-brother of Jesus.

          Jesus grew up in a sizable family that included four half brothers — James, Joses, Simon and Judas (who would later write the letter of Jude in the NT) — and “his sisters,” showing there were at least two:

          “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brothers – James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” (The Injeel, the Good News according to Matthew, chapter 13, verses 55-56)

          James did not grow up a believer (John 7:5 – neither he nor his brothers believed in the true identity of Jesus). After Jesus’ resurrection from the grave, James and his brothers became followers of Jesus, now convinced Jesus was indeed all that he claimed to be (Acts 1:14). A special appearance by Jesus to James after he rose from the dead (mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:7) probably played a major part in James’ change of heart!

          When James wrote his little letter of the New Testament some 30 years later, his humility is evident by the way he saw himself: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. . .” (James 1:1).

          James was so dramatically, unalterably changed by seeing Jesus alive from the dead that he believed in him as his savior and identified himself as the servant of Jesus rather than as a close relative.

    • Bruce, very succinct answer! But do we have a Biblical responsibility in some ways to help these dear people who are suffering so greatly?

      James 4:17 – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

  1. “*** If the U.S. does not strike, what will tyrants and dictators around the world feel about our lack of action in the face of their lawless, despicable acts?”
    —was this sarcasm or was it meant seriously!!??!!—a country that has propped up one dictator after another!!!!—–
    The best thing America can do is mind their own business!!—all they have done since WW2 is create more of a mess—they would do the world a FAVOR by minding their own business and staying out of wars.

    • My anonymous Muslim friend,

      Wow, what a response! Lots of emotion!

      I was not meant to be sarcastic. It was meant to be an honest question seeking honest responses. Thanks for giving yours.

      You have to understand that many people in America have no clue what people in other parts of the world think about geopolitical issues like the crisis in Syria. (I too sometimes fall into this category of being woefully ignorant.)

      Having said this, I do travel in the Middle East and I have found that people there often have differing views about things like this. For example, I have talked to Iraqis of Shia Islam who hated Sadaam Husssein and welcomed American involvement in deposing him. I have talked to Iraqi Sunni Muslims who – of course – felt quite differently.

      To speak to another of your points, for all the times my country has propped up dictators (often the lesser of two evils), I am truly sorry. I am sure that – like most countries – we have made too many decisions based on our own best interests without regard to the terrible consequences for people on the ground. This grieves my heart and I am sure it grieves the heart of God. I love my country. We have helped many people all over the world. But yes, we have made horrible mistakes too. God alone can be the Judge of it all.

      • You are right that Americans are ignorant.

        for ex—Iraq/Shia, I read somewhere, there was a Shia revolt against Saddam (encouraged by the U.S.)—but which the U.S. later abandoned support of —in around the 1990’s (?)
        and–ofcourse the long period of U.S. sanctions in which more than half a million Iraqi children under the age of 5, died—and which Madeline Albright said was “worth it”—which I suppose is the same as “lesser of two evils?” which you mentioned….!!?….

        Geo-political issues are complex—and if Americans are ignorant and therefore not capable of navigating them responsibly—they should STAY OUT of world affairs.

        In a way, America “inherited” or perhaps “took over” the system or mindset of colonial exploitation that Europeans left behind.

        having said that—I also acknowledge there are many great things about America and American people. It is not military might that makes America great—it is the idealism on which it was founded, its brand of secular democracy, the generosity of its people and openness of its society to face its problems, have dialogue, and strive to become better. (at least, that is how I see it)

        • My Muslim friend,

          The “lesser of two evils” – no, I absolutely would not be referring to the Iraqi children dying. No way! My heart aches for the innocent children who have suffered because of any wrongdoing of my country – or any other country!

          This is what I meant. In some countries – in some historical situations – there are two men or leaders or parties or armies vying for power. For supremacy. Sometimes both of those men or leaders or parties or armies are basically evil. They don’t care about the people of their land. They just care about their own power, wealth, etc. In that case, America – and other nations – have sometimes supported what they believed to be “the lesser of two evils.” They supported what they believed to be “the less evil” man, leader, party, or army.

          Having said this, my purpose in this blog is not to justify or explain American foreign policy. All of this is exactly what you described: complex geo-political issues. Too big for my little mind.

          What I do care about are heart issues: justice, care for the children you mentioned, and people hearing about the Jesus who loves them in their deep, deep suffering.

  2. “*** When you see pictures or videos of victims in Syria (alleged use of chemical weapons on August 21st that killed more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children), how does it affect your opinion of what action the U.S. should take?”
    —What should American do when they see these pictures?—-clean your own house first before pointing fingers—Americans should get rid of all their chemical weapons, WMD and Depleted Uranium Arsenal. In Falluja Iraq—babies are still being born with cancers and deformities because of the DU ammunitions used by Americans–and don’t forget agent orange and various other things used in Cambodia and Vietnam—not to mention the supply of Chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein to use on his own people!!!!
    Perhaps a heavy dose of humility and reflection are in order for the American people.

    • You wrote, “Perhaps a heavy dose of humility and reflection are in order for the American people.”

      I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.

      Your rebuke does not bother me at all but is welcomed. Thank you.

      God said,

      “. . .if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

      I am not using this verse to say that America as a nation is “God’s people.” Not at all. I am just quoting it to agree with your statement about “humility and reflection” being needed.

      This is what God requires.

      • The U.S. still has Chemical weapons which it was supposed to dispose off by 2012 but has not….If I read correctly, Wikipedia says it will dispose of them by 2021(?)

        Didn’t Jesus Christ say something about judging others—something about a plank and an eye?…I forgot the quote….

        • I don’t know as much as you apparently do about chemical weapons – who has them and how many.

          But. . .you are very right, Jesus definitely said something about judging others:

          Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

          “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (The Injeel, the Good News according to Matthew, chapter 7, verses 1-5).

  3. We should not be providing arms and training for any group of rebels who are trying to overthrown the government of a sovereign nation. We should not bomb another country, killing innocents as collateral damage, when that country has not attacked our interests. We should not put any troops on the ground nor provide funding for any UN force to be put in harm’s way. We should not allow ourselves to be manipulated as pawns by the Saudi’s and Iranians. We should welcome refugees to our country, where Christian charities can provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and where they can hear the life changing gospel and benefit eternally.

    • Anonymous friend, thanks for reading the post and for stating your opinion so clearly. You provide much food for thought – militarily and spiritually.

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