Con: US cannot afford to get involved with conflict

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Sept. 8, 2013 at 4:08 a.m.
Updated Sept. 9, 2013 at 4:09 a.m.

The U.S. should stay away from the Syrian conflict at all costs - that's what University of Houston-Victoria criminal justice professor Keith Akins thinks.

"In my opinion, it's a lose-lose situation," Akins said. "We don't have anything to gain from it."

Two weeks ago, President Obama sought congressional approval before taking military action against Syrian leader Bashar Assad, who is reported to have used illegal chemical weapons against his own people.

Supporters of military action in Syria say that no troops would need to be on the ground for intervention, but Akins said he doesn't think that's possible.

"The only way to protect those in need would be to go in on the ground," he said. "We'd have to conquer the whole country and set up a long-term occupation."

Such an occupation would be costly to an American public which has already endured a huge debt as a result of the Iraq War, Akins said.

And even if the U.S. intervenes, the ousting of Assad would help the rebel groups, which have been reported to have connections with al-Qaida.

"There's nothing good that can come out of this for us," Akins said. "If we stay out, it's going to be clear that you can violate the Geneva Convention and no one will stop you, and if we go in, we'll be essentially supporting the people we've been at war with."

Brandy Stansbury, of Edna, wrote in an email that she fears gas prices would skyrocket as result of U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict, which would plunge Americans back into the waves of a recession.

"We should mind our own business and focus on our own problems here in the U.S. instead of trying to be the babysitter of the world," wrote Stansbury.

Victoria's Veteran of Foreign Wars post commander Mat Offer said the U.S. needs to focus on protecting its own interests.

"We don't need to worry about Syrians killing other Syrians," Offer said. "We need to stay out of this war."

Offer, a retired medical corps Navy officer, served in Bosnia during the Balkan Wars.

The 58-year-old veteran said he remembers the carnage and lives lost from his time in service.

"We don't have a dog in this fight," Offer said. "People need to realize we are no longer the policemen of the world."

Pro: US should take military action to defend Syrians



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