Citizens protest US involvement in Syrian civil war

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More than 30 people gathered in front of the Rutherford County Courthouse in downtown Murfreesboro Thursday afternoon to protest U.S. military involvement in the ongoing Syrian civil war.

“We want justice, we want peace, U.S. out of the Middle East,” chanted the crowd of protesters as the rally got underway.

Past foreign military interventions into internal conflicts have increased the civilian casualty rate by “up to 40 percent,” according to a press release from the protest organizers, which cited a 2012 Journal of Peace Research study on armed foreign interventions.

“Whenever the U.S. gets involved in the Middle East, historically the pattern shows that violence escalates, the region becomes more unstable and we don’t end up accomplishing the goals that we went in with,” said Michael Cannon, a senior at Middle Tennessee State University studying philosophy and sociology. “We always say we’re going in to fight for democracy, to resolve a humanitarian issue, we end up causing more civilian deaths, more instability and moving the region further away from any kind of stable democracy.”

Cannon added there was still speculation as to whether the chemical weapon attack had actually been carried out by the Syrian government, and he did not believe that U.S. intervention in Syria would be for humanitarian reasons, but instead for political reasons.

“If the U.S. was concerned about democracy in the Middle East, we wouldn’t be providing all kinds of aid and diplomatic cover to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some of those brutal, misogynistic regimes in the world,” Cannon said. “So it’s clear that there’s a total double standard: If you’re a tyrant and you suit the U.S. foreign policy interests, then you’re an ally; if you’re a tyrant and you don’t suit the U.S. foreign policy interests, you’re an evildoer and we have to go in and spread democracy. So it’s hypocrisy, and I think the Obama administration has little moral authority at this point when it comes to the Middle East.”

Other protesters criticized the push for military involvement for more fiscal reasons.

“My question is, who is going to pay for this war,” said Salina Khan, a Murfreesboro resident and blogger present at the protest. “And, if we have the money for this war, why don’t we feed the 50 million Americans who are hungry, and for the education of people, for the student loans that kids have, the houses that people are losing, health care. There are so many other needs that Americans have. If we have the money, that money should be put for those needs before we go and use it to bomb other people.”

The rally also attracted those who were showing their support for U.S. missile strikes against the military in Syria.

“If the United States of America does not act, no one will,” said Adana Homsi, an MTSU student of Syrian descent. “If you’re following, everybody that stands up to say something, or to even act like they’re going to do something, they’re always backing down. Maybe political reasons, or what not, but I know that we’re not getting helped. And we’ve had enough.”

Homsi, along with a few others, stood across from the protesters and handed out information in support of limited military intervention into the Syrian conflict.

U.S. missile strikes that would target the military of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could do a lot to help the rebels in their fight to remove Assad from power, Homsi said.

“No one is willing to arm the rebels for particular reasons,” said Homsi, “but I do know that we don’t want troops on the ground. We don’t want no more American lives to be taken out in any kinds of war. We want peace. We protested peacefully for seven months. We’ve had T-72 tanks fired on us while we protest. How much more peace can you handle?”

In response to the claims that foreign military intervention has been more destructive than helpful, Homsi said that without any foreign aid for the rebels, there would not be a Syria left standing to save.

“They claim peace [talks] not bombs – we’ve been bombed with TNT barrels and SCUD missiles and all kinds of Russian missiles that are – you know, how much more can we handle?” Homsi said about the chants being made by the protesters. “Should we wait until maybe the UN gets together and makes after three or four years. Yeah, we could do that, but if we get an opportunity to have somebody intervene, and if it’s a smart, strategical strike, I think we should go for it. Save the country today.”

Abdou Kattih, another Murfreesboro resident of Syrian descent who was present at the rally, said that he supported military intervention as a way to help prevent more needless loss of life.

Both sides present at the protest want to end the violence, but have different ideas of how to attain that goal, Kattih added.

Although a recent poll by Reuters/Ipsos found that only nine percent of Americans support military involvement in Syria, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee narrowly passed a resolution Wednesday approving limited military force in Syria. It’s expected to be voted on in the full Senate next week.

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Barack Obama, Michael Cannon, Military, Politics, Syria, War
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Members Opinions:
September 08, 2013 at 9:04am
America is getting tired, tired of war and tired of Obama.
September 12, 2013 at 7:28pm
I believe it is a good thing that American citizens are getting out and voicing their opinions in their community. I am glad to see that protestors of both sides were able to back their opinions up with unbiased information.
While both sides do have valuable points, I do not believe it is right for America, and the rest of the world for that matter, to sit idly by while a president using chemical weaponry to kill thousands of innocent people in his own country. It may not be the perfect time for the United States to enter a war, but it is simply not right to ignore these attacks. Yes, we are still fiscally, mentally and physically recovering from a war, but allowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to defy U.S. foreign policy interests will only intensify his power, therefore putting Syria & it’s neighbors in a potentially more dangerous situation.
Michael Cannon of MTSU makes a valid point. I do not, however, agree that U.S. involvement in the Middle East has any thing to do with “morality”. There are obviously politics involved because there is a president wrongfully gassing innocent citizens, but I think the real reason the Obama administration wants to launch an attack on the Syrian military is because they saw media footage of thousands of people affected by this chemical warfare. So that, in my opinion, would make this less of a political attack.
I believe that the U.S. should launch a strategic strike on Syria in order to stop President Assad and the Syrian military from furthering its chemical warfare attack.
September 13, 2013 at 2:08pm
On a Thursday afternoon while I was at work, I witnessed the protesters against U.S. military involvement in the ongoing Syrian civil war marching down the streets of the Square chanting for peace in the Middle East. Of course, I had to get in on the action, and listen to what they had to say. I was intrigued by their arguments against the intervention of the U.S. military into Syria.
Before I had seen the protestors I did not have a solid opinion on how I felt about the attack on Syria; after listening to their cries for peace, I believe that we should not attack Syria, especially if there is still speculation as to whether the chemical weapon attack had actually been carried out by the Syrian government. I also agree that the U.S. intervention in Syria would be used for political reasons instead of humanitarian reasons as well as members of the protest did. I don’t believe that fighting fire with fire in this situation will do any justice at all. According to how past foreign military interventions have gone if we attack Syria the civilian casualty rate will continue to increase. Killing innocent people to get back at one person who “possibly” attacked us will not help us achieve anything besides a dramatic news story that we can write in our history books.
In the past, when the U.S. military has gotten involved with the Middle East, violence always escalates. So, why would we attack Syria if the region will become an unstable crime scene? By attacking Syria we will accomplish nothing. If only nine percent of Americans support U.S. military involvement with Syria, shouldn’t we listen to the other ninety-one percent of Americans who realize that things can be resolved in a different manner? It is obvious that most of the American population does not agree with getting involved with Syria, and I too agree that we should not throw ourselves into another war. I am glad that my community along with other communities are coming together to voice their opinions on this issue.
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