Common Ground: Syria demands action, not lives

Nick Bratcher

You wouldn’t know it by all the headlines or media attention, but there is something far more pressing than football occurring right now.

On Aug. 21, the nation of Syria used sarin gas to murder more than 1,400 people, including women and children, according to United States intelligence.

The world has decided to do nothing about this injustice since then, and so have many universal human rights groups both here in the U.S. and abroad.

As of Tuesday when this column was written, the U.S. was conducting joint missile tests with Israel as Obama pressed Congress to approve drone strikes in the region that could set off a full-scale war between Israel and Pakistan.

All of this occurs as a Reuters poll reports that 56 percent of people surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria.

I don’t want to be a buzz kill. 

Beating the Cats is great and all, and I’ll be in Knoxville this weekend myself.

But we have other responsibilities. We are the ones getting an education, so that makes us this nation’s future leaders.

So, we all need to take a second to understand the gravity of this situation.

People were slaughtered and 2 million people have fled their homes, families and security to seek refuge in neighboring countries, and another million are projected to leave by Christmas.

Can you imagine being so afraid for your welfare that you would leave everything you have ever known or possessed to live in Mexico or Canada?

That’s the situation we’re dealing with here.

But I am also acutely aware of the growing fatigue of U.S. military intervention into foreign affairs.

I too am tired of losing American lives.

But that doesn’t mean I want to forsake innocent people to be killed around the world.

There, I said it. I believe both of those things, and so can you.

Let’s not be so irrational as to draw party lines and say we have to choose between the extremes of blowing someone up or staying totally out of this conflict. Let’s not be a country divided about everything.

Politicians will only promote that nonsense for as long as we support it ourselves.

To all those NRA members out there who consider themselves red-blooded conservatives, we don’t have to physically fight every injustice in this world. Please, put down your Toby Keith CDs and leave beer for people, not horses.

And to those hippies out there who consider themselves peace-loving liberals, we can’t just expect problems to go away. 

There must be compromise among us.

And it probably starts with not stereotyping each other’s ideals as I just did.

A good place to start is telling our president to listen to the people who elected him. 

President Barack Obama is simultaneously claiming a desire to protect human rights as he ignores the wishes of his own electorate. Does no one else see the contradiction here?

If there were no other options, I would assume he’s doing what he believes is best. But that is simply not the case.

A compromise exists between force and pacifism in the four-step solution proposed by Human Rights First, an organization in New York that promotes human rights internationally. 

Look into it.