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Crisis in Syria, chaos in Washington

by AMBER KELLY Photographer

Blood, death, and torment; that is what consumes Syria as a civil war ravages its lands and people. 

When Bashar al-Assad, leader of the Ba’ath Party, became president in 2000, he was not the reformer the Syrians had hoped for, but rather a dictatorial leader with the military at his side. As Assad’s brutal presidency continued, uprisings by the Syrian people became more frequent and desperate, until a civil war broke out in 2011.

The world watched on as men, women, and children were killed in the Syrian conflict, but it was not until Assad’s use of biological warfare that Washington was thrown into chaos. The Syrian government’s use of sarin gas on its own people was an unforgivable act, one that the United States, as well as other countries, believe warrants serious consequences. However, what these consequences should be is a question that is transcending political affiliations in America.

Democrats and Republicans are split within their own parties on the issue of whether the United States should react militarily to the events in Syria, or if we should remain outside the conflict. The Obama Administration supports a military strike, but the decision really lies with Congress who, as of yet, have not come to a consensus on the Syrian issue.

While Representatives like John Boehner (R-OH) and Steve Israel (D-NY) support a limited strike, other Democrats and Conservatives are concerned about the affect a strike will have for American security.

“It’s weird seeing some Republicans agreeing with Democrats and vice versa. Usually the parties have a strict divide, but with the Syria issue, that is not the case,” says senior Jessica McDonald.

Some members of Congress worry about the possible negative impact of supporting the Syrian rebels, since Al-Qaeda factions have been linked to the rebellion.

“I don’t know what we should do. Obviously there are blatant human rights violations in Syria, but would supporting the rebels put us in a dangerous situation? It’s a hard decision to make,” says senior Kim Cangelosi.

As the Syrian civil war rages on, and the death toll exceeds 100,000, Washington is being pushed even harder to make a decision on how to act. Whether it be a limited strike, or nothing at all, it is in Congress’s hands now, and the impact of their decision will be felt for years to come.

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