The use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and what is happening in Syria is particularly devastating. But I can’t help to ask, “Why Syria? Why now?” I do find it peculiar that just a few short weeks ago, sequestration dominated the news with many politicians and pundits calling for drastic cuts to the Department of Defense budget and highlighting the need to reduce the number of troops in the active military. And here we are now with members of the Executive and Legislative branches pleading their cases as to why the US should get involved in a civil war in Syria. A civil war, mind you, being fought with the aid of Hezbollah on one side and Jabhat al Nusra (a radical Islamic group with allegiance to al Qaeda) on the other (see Key Players in Syrian War). So not only are there questions of whether the US can afford war with Syria should things escalate, but our government wishes to support the very enemies we’ve been fighting for the past 10 years and they’re prepared to do so with troops receiving less pay and fewer benefits.
Currently, there are no plans for a complete withdrawal in Afghanistan (one look at Bagram paints a picture of continued US presence). And our involvement in Iraq taught us that the US fighting a two-front war is not sustainable for a significant amount of time. Even though we’re reassured that our involvement with Syria will only consist of ‘limited military airstrike’, the Secretary of Defense, John Kerry, admitted that ‘boots on the ground’ will not be taken off the table as an “option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country.” Simply put – if the US chooses to engage Syria, we must be prepared for an escalation beyond a limited military airstrike. And with about 63,000 troops still in Afghanistan, an all-volunteer military that has been fighting for the last 10 years, and a struggling economy, I am hard pressed to agree that our involvement is necessary.
We have the greatest military in the world. I have no doubt that our troops will carry out the ordered mission with honor, precision, and dignity. But the US military an all-volunteer force comprised of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters. And with the exception of a very few, the ones ‘over there’ are not the family members of those in the Executive and Legislative branches determining what they think is best for our country. I know I will send my husband off to war again during the remainder of his career – it is inevitable and just one of the many truths of being associated with the military. But I am not convinced that our involvement in Syria is best for our country, our children, or our future.
- 4 Things Military Families Want Americans to Know Before Bombing Syria
- 9 Questions About Syria You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask