Pro: US should take military action to defend Syrians

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

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

Intervening in the Syrian civil war, in which the use of chemical weapons against its own civilians has been reported, would be the right thing to do - that's what University of Texas at San Antonio professor Mansour El-Kikhia said the United States should do.

The Libyan native was exiled from his home country years ago but chose to return twice after the Arab Spring took hold.

He became so involved with Libya's politics, El-Kikhia made his interest in the Libyan president vocal to numerous news organizations.

It's been almost three years since the UTSA professor got caught up in the Arab Spring, and since then, his attention has turned to Syria.

"I realize that none of the actions we could possibly take against Syria would have a positive outcome," El-Kikhia said. "But perhaps the only thing we can do is choose the lesser of the two evils."

In an editorial for the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof urges Americans jaded by the Iraq War to understand that there are thousands of lives at stake if the U.S. does not take action.

He wrote, "It's all very well to urge the United Nations and Arab League to do more, but that means that Syrians will continue to be killed at a rate of 5,000 every month."

The case is building as the U.S. and the United Kingdominvestigate evidence of the illegal use of sarin gas by Assad on a Damascus suburb to ward off rebel groups.

"It's nothing pleasant," El-Kikhia said. "This is a sincere and real quagmire for the U.S."

Victoria College student Martin Kallus, 20, was waiting for his Texas history class to end when the Advocate approached him about his views on Syria.

If President Obama decides to take action against Assad, he doesn't anticipate any soldiers being on the ground, Kallus said.

"It'll be basically aircraft and no troops on the ground," Kallus said. "America has been the police force in the world against people who have been killing their people without cause. So to bring justice like that, I'm for it."

Although the president contends he could have taken action against Assad without U.S. congressional approval, he chose to give political leaders a say in the matter - which was an ingenious move on the president's part, said El-Kikhia.

"It was a brilliant move," said the political science professor. "He's been able to keep the Republicans quiet and has shifted the country's arguments over the economy to Syria. He has basically played the whole situation like a chess master."

Con: US cannot afford to get involved with conflict



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