Where were you when 9/11 happened?
Personally, I was a freshman in high school when 9/11 happened. I remember the fear that I experienced very vividly. I remember being afraid of nuclear weapons. What I can’t remember is a time when we weren’t involved in some kind of war. I can’t remember a time when our government put more money into its own country than it did into other countries.
I do not come from a specifically pacifist family; I have generations of war veterans in my lineage starting from my great-grandfather on both sides and my grandfather, father, and brother on my dad’s side. I was even born at Walter Reed Army Medical Center back when it was top-notch.
I was raised with the belief that going into the military was honorable and that United States was just, and that some wars needed to be fought. The problem is: The truly “just” wars are the ones the United States seems to always step into way too late. We will let genocide happen when it happens in barren deserts. But if there is oil to control we’ll be there in a heartbeat.
I like to think that I’m an average millennial. I have four children that are young. I have more student loan debt than I will ever pay. I don’t own a house and I only own a car because of family help. I can barely pay my rent and I have already given up hope that the American Dream will ever apply to me.
I am also certain that my government does not represent me. I am even more certain of this when it comes to wars. When I was in high school recruiters were signing everyone up for the war with promises of bonuses. Now in 2013 the sequester has hit the military but the wars haven’t stopped. Our troops are asked to accept less pay for the same work. We are the aggressor and have generally only incited more violence than we ever curbed.
Why are we saying no to this war?
1. Because we are war weary. Millennials are tired of giving money to other countries and outside causes while at the same time being told that there isn’t enough for the U.S. citizenry.
2. Because we are beginning to see that what we are told and what really goes on are two very different things.
3. Because we don’t want another middle eastern conflict. We are not wanted there and we are not doing much long-term good (in fact, we cause a lot of harm).
4. Because we don’t want more war. We didn’t want the last war. We don’t want the next war. We don’t want this war.
Because this is a proxy war that just enrages tension between Russia and the US.
I know, I know. The government isn’t even calling it “war.” It’s just intervention. It’s supposed to be a limited engagement. But what will happen is that we will act, and then they’ll retaliate, and then we’ll be “justified” in going to war…and we’ll be stuck.
The thing is, nobody wants this.
The People* Don’t Want This
I’ve been to the briefing. I’ve heard from constituents. It would be representational malpractice to vote yes on military action in #Syria.
— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) September 4, 2013
The citizens of the United States don’t want this. Don’t believe me? Here are some numbers from the Pew Research Center:
And it’s not just Amash that’s sharing:
Constituents who have contacted my office by phone or mail oppose action in Syria 523-4 so far. — Rep. Andy Harris, MD (@RepAndyHarrisMD) September 3, 2013
I know that nearly everyone I’ve talked to personally is against this war. I don’t think I can name one person who is for it. Here is one quote from a Facebook friend:
I am not, for a variety of reasons. I think after the fiasco of “WMD” ages ago, I have a high distrust of the political spectrum. in short, I ask “Who benefits” from anything they push my way?
Our Military Community Doesn’t Want This A quick click on #VetsOnSyria and #IDidn’tJoin show that those who have more information about what it takes to actually conduct a war do not want to be in this war.
The men and women who sign up to serve their country are a serious bunch. For the most part they seem to take their job and their role very seriously. So when they say, en mass, that they don’t want this anymore, perhaps the Commander-in-Chief should take notice. How effective can troops be when they hate their job? Or when they are questioning the ethics of their actions? Of course, our military service members don’t have much of a choice. If they follow orders then they are doing a legally correct action (albeit an immoral one). If they don’t follow orders then they are following their conscience but risking legal repercussions in a military court. It’s a gray area that I don’t envy.
The U.N. Doesn’t Want This, at Least Not Right Now:
“I take note of the argument for action to prevent a future use of chemical weapons,” the U.N. chief added. “At the same time, we must consider the impact of any punitive measure on efforts to prevent further bloodshed and facilitate the political resolution of the conflict.” — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
But….. the POTUS Does Want a War with Syria
Our President seems set on going to war with Syria whether anyone wants it or not:
The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.
The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement. What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community.
As a part of that effort, my Administration is announcing unprecedented sanctions to deepen the financial isolation of the Assad regime and further disrupt its ability to finance a campaign of violence against the Syrian people. I have signed a new Executive Order requiring the immediate freeze of all assets of the Government of Syria subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria. This E.O. also bans U.S. imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products; prohibits U.S. persons from having any dealings in or related to Syria’s petroleum or petroleum products; and prohibits U.S. persons from operating or investing in Syria. We expect today’s actions to be amplified by others.
We recognize that it will take time for the Syrian people to achieve the justice they deserve. There will be more struggle and sacrifice. It is clear that President Assad believes that he can silence the voices of his people by resorting to the repressive tactics of the past. But he is wrong. As we have learned these last several months, sometimes the way things have been is not the way that they will be. It is time for the Syrian people to determine their own destiny, and we will continue to stand firmly on their side.
Of course, notice that he says, “The future of Syria must be determined by its people…” but ignores his own citizens back home, who clamor to have their representatives take care of THEM. Or at the very least, stop passing laws that make their lives worse.
…. So do parts of Congress
See this post by Joe Ruiz on finding out how your representative feels about Syria.
What I’m Afraid Of
I am afraid of a domestic collapse. I am afraid of the eventual storm that will come to us when our enemies turn on us, especially since we are essentially fighting a proxy war. At what point will we have no allies at all?
I am also afraid of the Fukushima disaster and what it will mean for me and my children down the road.
I’m afraid that I will never be able to own a home, buy a car, or get out of debt. Like, ever. I’m angry about the entire NSA issue; enraged about the treatment of Manning and Snowden.
And I’m disappointed – disappointed that my country is not what my public education taught me it was. It’s kind of like learning that Santa Claus isn’t real, only with more dire consequences.
The Bigger Picture
On the one hand, no one who is against the war is saying that what is going on isn’t horrific, because it is horrific. There have been human rights violations long before the gas was used. But are our actions going to do any good? And what type of country are we creating for our children? After a war or two you can blame it on this party or a bad President. After we’ve done the same thing so many times I must conclude that the country I belong to is corrupt.
There are over two million Syrian refugees right now. Those refugees put strain on already strained countries. Although I’m not sure bombing Syria is going to ease that particular burden anytime soon, nor will it do much to improve relations with the Middle East. One thing (however) I am sure of: peace is not on the horizon for any of us, anytime soon.
The American People Really Don’t Want to Bomb Syria
*By people, I mean the constituents who are represented by individual congress members. You know, the citizens about whom the government is supposed to give a damn.
Military Member Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/ArmedForcesTeaParty