5 (of the Many) Reasons Why Congress Can’t Agree on Syria


For those of us who rarely turn on the news, we may be casually nodding or shaking our heads these past days in conversations on Syria, when really we haven’t a clue about what’s going on, with the exceptions of some “chemical warfare in Syria.” Well, I’ll be the first to admit that when the news came out on the chemical explosions in Damascus, I hadn’t the slightest idea (ashamedly and bashfully) of the implications this one attack could have. Sadly, it normally takes events to reach the point of such potential global impact to get our attention.

Today, as Senate continues to argue on cases for whether or not we should attack Syria, it’s probably time those of us (ehem, myself included)  take a closer look at what exactly is going on, and why we should care whether or not Congress agrees to move forward with a strike on Syria. No doubt, it will have longstanding effects on our nation and the rest of the world, even though the majority of us might not notice until our primetime shows are interrupted with a National address from our President.

Here are five reasons why apparently more than 280 representatives remain undecided:

1. Syria’s chemical attack violated international law.

While some question the fine print of this internation law, Syria indeed agreed to this in the 1925 Geneva protocal, which first prohibited the use of chemical weapons in war.

Though in the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, that furthered the Geneva protocal to outlaw the production and use of these weapons, Syria was not among the countries that agreed to destroy the possesions of chemical arms.              (The Washington Post)

2. America is Allies with Israel.

(“So...?” you might be thinking. How does Israel factor into this attack?)

It is likely, since the US are allies with Israel (meaning we have committed to protect Israel at all costs) that the Bashar Assad regime (aka Syria) may attack Israel if we pose a threat to them, because they will no doubt get a response from such an attack.

Still the argument for some representatives is that it is not our battle to fight. 

Though others argue that Syria may attack if we don’t do anything. Though Secretary of State, John Kerry stated on Wednesday, a politician who has remained quite opposed to military action in the past,to why the US should take action: “the world is watching.” 

3. We need to uphold International norms.

Over 400 children have died due to this attack. The fact alone that the Syrian government violated, not only an international law, but more a moral code of humanity is reason enough for alarm. Many in Congress argue that to do nothing would be saying something.

4. War costs money and America is already a financial mess.

Any strike will cost us, and any strike will likely be the gateway to more than one attack.

New York Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat, said in a statement to CNN:

"After 6,668 American troop deaths and tens of thousands of American wounded, after spending $2 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan representing $40,000 in debt for every American family, now is the time to nation-build in America and invest in the growth of the American economy,"  

Yet, I’m not sure who could argue with what price to put on the lives lost that day in Damascus.

5.  America could be Syria’s next target.

Certainly a possiblity. Though it would be disconcerting if this was reason for anyone to vote for a strike or no strike on Syria.

One member of the Senate Committee today posed the question, in his southern drawl, “What do we do if they literally shoot back at Americans?” Hm, profound question. I’m sure most of congress haven’t taken that thought into consideration yet. Glad he could bring that one to the table (or for national news, no less.)

Regardless of what next steps the Senate Committee agrees to take, hopefully this is not the question that drives our nations ultimate decision on what to do next.