What happens in Syria will affect us

To the editor:

It is a pity that Syrians are not greyhounds or kittens because then their suffering might elicit a response from Americans. The killing of 100,000 people and the despair of one million refugees do not preoccupy our Secretary of State obsessed with Jews actually living in parts of Jerusalem.

Americans, naturally, want to avoid another nation-building land war in Asia. An attitude of schadenfreud, “a plague on both your houses”, is taking place. Who would not be happy when Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah slaughter each other?

Unfortunately, this is a shortsighted response. The Syrian civil war is a multi-sided sectarian and religious conflict overlaying a struggle by most of the Syrian people against a despot.

There is a side that we should support with arms but not troops. That side is those Syrians who are secularists and desire a government based on democracy and human rights. We should not take the attitude that it is none of our business.

A forgotten fact of our Civil War is that Britain and France almost intervened on the side of the South, but that the Russian navy paid a courtesy call to New York City during the war, a warning against British and French involvement. Americans benefited from foreign involvement just as we did when the French aided our struggle for independence.

The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, was a contributing factor to the Second World War, because America, Britain, and France embargoed weapons to the Spanish Republic, which led to its defeat. Fascist Germany and Italy intervened, and future aggression was encouraged.

Terrorism in the name of religion, tyranny, murder of civilians, and Iranian nuclear weapons development will not go away by themselves. The bogymen are real. Turmoil from Pakistan to Mali from Turkey to Yemen, affects us. Isolationism will not work.

Rick Sirvint


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