Syria: To Attack or Not Attack, Part One

The debate over involvement in Syria has been on every news media outlet for the past week. The Middle-Eastern country has been embroiled in civil war for years. Disputes between President Assad’s government and ‘rebel fighters’ have torn the country asunder and hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed. After reports of approximately a thousand civilians straggling into make-shift hospitals with strange symptoms resembling chemical poisoning, President Obama released a statement saying that there was a ‘line’ in war, and that if Syria’s military had crossed it there would be repercussions.

Articles covering this debate have been released every day on the New York Times site and Wall Street Journal’s. On August 23, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal released two pieces. These articles were collaborations featuring at least three main journalists and several contributors, both varying from 1200-1800 words and several images featuring soldiers and UN Inspectors.

The longer article belonging to WSJ seemed drawn-out, involving contributions from nine journalists total. They did combine the political debates from the US and the UK, which the New York Times failed to do.

The Times article reads like a stop along the information highway; it gives you just enough fuel to make it to the next day until more complete information is released. It also focused on Britain’s side of the story more than the US, discussing what Prime Minister David Cameron was going to do about the conflict.  The article did originate from London, but this potential invasion involves multiple countries.

The impact on citizens from the world over is clearly evident. This estranged missile strike would impact Russia, Syria, Israel, Iran, the UK, and the US.  Prime Minister Cameron received urges from lawmakers to issue a vote on the issue before making any decisions. President Obama received the same requirements from House members. Since these articles are a week old, we know that Obama is still debating whether to engage in military action with Syria.

Neither articles account for the past years’ conflict, only focusing on the present information. As the UN Inspectors investigating the sites release their reports, more information will be released as to what exactly is going on in Syria. Media speculation as to Obama’s hesitation is attributed to the US’s military engagement just a few short years ago with Iraq.  Also, I have seen hardly any involvement of the Syrian people in these articles; only references to dead Syrians, or the rebel fighters.

Part two of this blog post will be posted within a few days. New developments have affected this situation, but not these articles. The journalistic truth is easy to spot in these posts: The US is waiting on the UK’s decision whether to strike upon Syria or not. Authors contribute Obama’s hesitation to action to the war in Iraq. WSJ mentions the fact that the Iraq War was begun upon false information. “The current Syria debate recalled the positions of the U.S. and U.K. in 2003, when the countries built a case for going to war with Iraq, arguing that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and ultimately invaded without a U.N. Security Council resolution. The U.S. was heavily criticized for entering into what became a yearslong campaign based on false intelligence.”

Instead of focusing on the war in Iraq, this involvement is being compared to what went on in Kosovo.  This civil war in Syria has been going on for years. The consequences of the US stepping in could turn out badly, or help end this long drawn out war.


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