Syria: At what cost?

What began as peaceful protests over two years ago has turned into a civil war in Syria and the use of chemical weapons. Obama said in his address to the Nation "We cannot resolve someone else's civil war through force." I agree. It is neither our place or anyone else's to help resolve an internal conflict of another country. Obama continues and says that on  August 21st thousands of Syrians were killed with poisonous gas which is a violation of the laws of war.  In 1997 we made an international agreement to ban chemical weapons and since this agreement was violated he wants to execute a targeted strike against Assad. He does go on to say that he feels the President is stronger with Congressional approval and will ask them to vote on it. That speech took place on Tuesday, September 10th just one day after Sec. John Kerry made a flippant comment when asked what Assad could do to prevent a US strike.

Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.

Since Sec. John Kerry made that statement on Monday the news media has said perhaps that comment was not as off the cuff or flippant as it initially appeared to be. 

There are reports now that we are sending arms, small arms, to the rebels in Syria. The arms we are sending are machine guns and the like. Assad, in response to this has said:

"When we see the United States really wants stability in our region and stops threatening, striving to attack, and also ceases arms deliveries to terrorists, then we will believe that the necessary processes can be finalized. 

This morning the NY Times published an article written by Russian President Putin regarding Syria. To para phrase his plea to the American people he says that the decision to strike or otherwise engage a country with the use of force is up to the United Nations Security Counsel and any thing short of that would be viewed as an act of aggression. He threatens that a strike by the U.S. could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance. 

What do we do? 

Our President has made it very clear he wants to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the use of force. We have threatened to do so and are now aiding the rebels by supplying them with arms. This is a passive aggressive way of trying to resolve someone else's civil war through force; something the President has said we cannot do. Assad has made it very clear he will not turn over his chemical weapons until we stop threatening him and stop arms deliveries to what he says are terrorists. And even if those two conditions were met it would take him another 30 days to deliver his stock pile. At this point it does not seem either leader is willing to bend. 

Obama says the U.S. is not the world's police. Perhaps he is right. Making a unilateral decision to strike Syria sounds to me like we are vigilantes. 

Twitter: You can build your own things that other people use

With the news that Twitter has announced its S-1 filling with the SEC I am reminded of something I read in Steve Jobs by Walter Issaacson

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people use. - Steve Jobs

Twitter began in 2006 on the premise of an individual sending a SMS to a group of people. The rest as they say is history. That one idea to send a single SMS to a group of people spawned into what we now use to communicate our thoughts, frustrations, breaking news, affiliations to groups, and a host of other things. There was no such thing as #FF or #follow. Hell, there was no such thing as a hashtag until Twitter entered our lives. Now we hashtag just about everything. 

I am not sure that I completely agree with Jobs when he says people that were no smarter than you... but the idea that anyone can create anything and bring it to market is true. In the case of Twitter a person was able to create something that no one needed and turned it into something everyone who is anyone uses. That, my friend, is no small feat. It is almost a kin to selling ice to the Eskimo. 

Young people and current events

I was eleven years old and in the sixth grade when the Gulf War began in 1990. I vaguely remember hearing about it. Seeing news snippets of it on the TV. My father never really spoke about it; at least not that I can remember. I was too young then to know what was going on.  I was twenty-two when the War in Afghanistan began in 2001. Much older now I knew the cause of the war, but I never read about it and got sick and tired of seeing coverage of it on every news channel for days on end. At thirty-four years old today and on the brink of war with Syria I am much more cognizant. I listen to NPR and watch some media coverage of the events. I have formed my own opinions about the civil war that has been waging in Syria for the past two years and our possible involvement to stop it.  

As I sit and listen to the voices from the radio and the reporters on the TV I know the two teenage girls I live with will have the same memory of this issue in Syria as I did of the Gulf and Afghanistan wars. They go about their business naive to the fact that our President wishes to initiate a targeted strike on Assad in an effort to instill fear and make him stop using chemical weapons. I asked the oldest, fifteen almost sixteen, if any of her teachers were discussing the current events of our Nation at school and she gave me a short "no." Undoubtedly  neither of them will read about this or hear of it unless we go to war with Syria. Then maybe the younger one, twelve going on thirteen, will read about it when she attends High School. 

In time when someone mentions the events of the past months teenagers now may feel compelled to look up what happened in Syria in 2013. I'm sure they will be like me and say  "I don't remember that." The memories will be fuzzy and hazy. 

Isn't it our job as adults to teach our children about the current events? Why don't schools share these breaking news stories with our children? They may not care. They may only be partially interested or not at all. Should we not make the effort to show them even if it does fall on a deaf ear?