As anyone who watches TV and listens to the radio knows, America, the United Kingdom, and France have bombed Syria last Friday. Aside from the mixed claims that these bombs didn’t hit the correct targets (a horrifying notion) and caused minimal damage, the act itself has been widely discussed. This article is not going to rehash the attack or interpret how each of these countries are moving forward after the attack. Instead the legitimacy of the bombing is going to be reviewed.
A recent meme went viral, underscoring an argument that questions how necessary it was for Americans to be involved in international affairs when domestically there are several issues that the government has chosen to disregard. A question posed by the editor of a newspaper asks if people support the missile attack on Syria. A woman named Amber Zirkelback Wooster responded: “I’m just thankful that Syria didn’t bomb us for poisoning the children of Flint or gassing natives at Standing Rock.” A user commented humorously on this: “Amber had time.”
This is a very serious issue that most people don’t talk about anymore. In 2014, the residents of Flint, Michigan, low-income and mostly black families turned on their tap water and received discolored and foul water. They took to using water bottles to clean themselves, clean their clothes, and feed their families. Officials say the water is safe now, but residents disagree. This isn’t the first claim officials have made that the water was safe, and it took two years of citizens complaining and officials denying the crisis before the governor stepped in with a bottled water program.
In 2016, Sioux Nation tribe members in Standing Rock, North Dakota were protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline being built, claiming that the pipeline will affect their water and desecrate sacred land. Hundreds gathered to protest and they were met with water cannons, mace, tear gas, high pitched sound weapons, and rubber pellet guns. Four hundred people were arrested and one hundred and sixty seven people were injured. After all this, the Sioux tribe was right. There were at least five oil spills in 2017. These two incidents are still unresolved today, with clean water not in Flint, Michigan, and an appeal filed by the Sioux tribe against the pipeline being slowly reviewed.
If it was warranted for Syria to be bombed because the government was performing a chemical attack on its citizens, then is America also merited for being bombed? For ignoring the basic human rights a person deserves and a government should provide for such as clean water (Flint), the right to protest and maintain historical and personal significance on land (Standing Rock), and the inability to help clean up, reconstruct, and help rebuild the livelihood of people devastated from a natural disaster 1,150 miles away from Florida (Puerto Rico)? Before someone claims that chemical weapons can be used against other countries, I’d like to remind you all that almost every third world country has a stockpile of chemical weapons that they could use any time they wish. Our own president has threatened to use them a couple times. If you truly believe that Syria’s bombing was deserved, I’d advise being wary in America — we probably deserve it too.