Students talk: Syria

People walk in Deir al-Zour, Syria, Wednesday
Credit: Reuters

The breaking news on Syria is reported in newspapers and discussed in classrooms between peers, teachers and organizations.

It seems every minute the media presents a new opinion, fact or update on how the United States and the rest of the world is going to respond to Syria.

Senior Karie Herringa of Cadillac said each media outlet has bias, but in general, there has been a bigger focus on President Barack Obama asking for Congressional approval.

“Constitutionally speaking, the President is supposed to have the approval of congress before involving the United States in any form of war, but every previous president has ignored this law,” Herringa said. “The media should be focusing on the issues in Syria and how it is related to the welfare of the United States.”

There is growing evidence that the Syrian government did use chemical weapons in the attack that led to the death of about 1,400 civilians.

Jon Bloomberg, the first vice-chair of the Central Michigan Republicans, said he is concerned about the media’s focus on chemical weapons.

“The use of nerve gas is deplorable and a direct violation of UN policies,” Bloomberg said.  “Yet, I can’t help but wonder whether recent media coverage would be as extensive if the number of civilian casualties in Syria had extended into the hundreds of thousands, but nerve gas had not been used.”

Students have varying ideas about how America should respond to Syria.

“I know that the Russian government refuses to fight with us until they find a good enough reason and I agree with them,” Octavia Carson, a junior from Pontiac, said.  “The government should give us better evidence.”

Polls show that most Americans are wary about getting involved in Syria. According to the Pew Research Center for the Public & Press, 29 percent of the population is in favor of using military action against Syria.

The CMU College Democrats E-board said in a statement that Obama has acknowledged the public’s reluctance to get involved in Syria, but he also has to consider the consequences of military inaction.

“He convincingly addressed the fact that if no action is taken, the thousands of civilians who have died at the hands of their own government and will continue to die will gain no relief,” the E-board said. “The United States has the power to aid in this human rights issue, and not doing so sets a dangerous precedent.”

The CMU College Democrats said they believe America should not overstep their authority, but consider that inaction will hurt the country’s reputation.

“If no penalty is given for the government’s violation of human rights at the Geneva Convention, then a message of American apathy toward human suffering will be sent,” the CMU College Democrats E-board said.

Bloomberg said he is glad Obama is seeking congressional approval to use a military strike.

“I’m not in any position to speculate about the consequences of any U.S. military action or inaction, but this situation certainly exemplifies the true importance of both politics and political involvement,” Bloomberg said.

Although there are many opinions on the United States’ involvement in Syria, the ultimate response to the issue and how that decision will impact the rest of the world is still unknown.

“Our oversea involvement has been adding up for decades and it’s reached a point where we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” Herrigna said. “There is no winning solution for the United States right now.”