Sunday, 15 September 2013

An Essay On Syria, Morality And The International Community

Do you know why chemical weapons are often referred to as the "poor man's nuke"? The term comes as a snide label detailing the devastating effects these weapons have compared to their relatively low cost. Chemical weapons range in terms of specific types, however they all share a common trait of being silent killers that leave no blood, no mess, just corpses.

Syria has become an escalated topic for the international community solely for the fact that not since the attacks of Saddam Hussein against Kurdish citizens, has an internal conflict taken such an extreme turn. The very fact that a dictator has had the confidence to use these weapons, not only challenges the validity and strength of the United Nations, but more importantly provides a mirror to the world of free men and challenges their morality and authenticity.

When President Obama declared that America is not a police state, but simply enforcing the will of the international community, he was in fact keeping a strong face to ensure morality ensues. If we allow one dictator to get his way, how does that make the United Nations look? This situation can be compared to a man beating his wife, children and relatives, only to have the police officers stand on his porch and watch as he explains why beating them was not his fault, but justified because of their own actions against him. Common sense would dictate that this example is one that requires intervention, however the question of sovereignty arises when action is put on the table. How do you enforce international law and respect the sovereignty of a single nation at the same time? I personally believe that if a member of the United Nations begins to attack it's own people physically, this should automatically open the possibility of an international response. While it is easy to write this, the implementation of having every country on the planet become a part of the UN is another thing. 

What makes the situation more unbearable however, is the human cost as a result of this internal conflict. Chemical weapons as mentioned at the beginning of this post are a game changer, they are an extreme response to a conventional conflict and show a sign of inhumane thinking. Using these weapons in self defense is one thing, deploying them on your countrymen is a simple shame.

Below, I am going to be displaying pictures of the effects these weapons have had on civilians. I display these pictures not to disrespect the individuals themselves, but to show an extreme example of the deadliness these weapons pose and the importance of banning their use.

Viewer Discretion is Advised


Effects of chemical gas on livestock, if the gas doesn't kill you, starvation will.

We all know the effects of a nuclear weapon on a city, the place is demolished in seconds and everything there incinerated. The use of chemical weapons are ideal for keeping the assets of a city in one piece, while removing its inhabitants with ease. The pictures above show the results of chemical weapon use, you have individuals going to bed at night, never to wake up. No mess, no problem, all provided with ease.

Many of the victims in this attack were not military, which is another reason why the Syrian conflict has become so escalated. You have innocent children being killed without regard or worse, being orphaned and left to the refugee camps in other countries. Traveling as a kid with your parents is fun, but imagine being 12 years old and having to care for your brothers and sisters in a country you have never been before?

Worse, imagine the post traumatic effect these children are experiencing, having witnessed the conflict and bloodshed going on in their own home cities?

While an armed intervention does go against my own comfort zone regarding a response, these pictures give you an idea of why such an idea was tabled in the first place. It may be easy to refer to Syria as another Iraq or say that America simply wants the oil there, but one thing is certain, while Iraq turned out to possess fake weapons of mass destruction, Bashar Al Assad has them and is not afraid to use them on Syrians.

The threat of military intervention and the quick of thinking of Russia has led Syria to register itself with the United Nations ban on chemical weapons and allow inspectors to view all stockpiles. However, while this update shows a move in the right direction, one has to beg how valid it really is, when the only reason the Syrian government completed this request was to avoid being attacked by an international force. The very fact that it came down to threats show how light the weight of the United Nations really is, when confronted with an actual crisis. This is why it is very important to ensure that a proper response is applied, but even more importantly a proper precedent is set to deter future madmen from using these weapons without cause.

The final segment of this post is dedicated to Canada's response to the overall crisis. Lester B. Pearson is most likely rolling in his grave. While Canada has been known to be a peacemaker and humanitarian aid country, this crisis has shown the imperfection of our current government and the change that has secretly occurred in this country. Instead of offering to initiate or coordinate a humanitarian response for the millions of people currently displaced in Syria, our government simply issued an order condemning the actions while literally supporting our allies for an attack by not contributing any possible assets at all.

Syria has officially turned from civil war to political genocide and now is the time that we need to act properly and swiftly to avoid further needless deaths. The world always says never again, yet when Rwanda was burning under the genocide of millions, people were more content with O.J Simpsons trial, Darfur still burns with aspects of genocide, however the world has forgotten the people there. Syria is our chance to change things, to finally implement new policy that allows the international community to act when required, heck, the people in this country have launched a massive campaign for international assistance and all we have done is simply stand back and watch, something that we promised we would never do again.

In closing, the United Nations is still a viable and important institution for world peace and international organization. Syria has given the world an opportunity to not only remind ourselves how deadly our weapons can be, but also reorganize and improve. We need to take things seriously on the international level, because while it may seem unlikely that these types of weapons or conflicts can affect us at home, in today's world nothing is impossible. If we turn a blind eye on an issue occurring somewhere else, what happens when our ignorance allows that issue to grow and become an international crisis?

As always I thank you for reading my material and look forward to the future!

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