Strike on Syria

Following an alleged chemical attack on Syrian citizens, the US, UK and France retaliated and bombed chemical weapon manufacturers and army bases. There were varied responses around West High and Iowa City.

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World Languages Teacher Sydney McDermott considers Trump to be narcissistic. “It’s a super huge problem,” she said, “because you cannot act on behalf of a county when you are trying to serve yourself.” McDermott also stated that Trump “has disgraced the practice of diplomacy by not appointing a [diplomat] for a variety of countries, including Syria.” (The US lacks appointed ambassadors to over 50 countries, including Syria.)

McDermott disapproves of the US strike, saying it was ineffective and self-serving. “It had almost no effect on Assad’s regime or anything,” she said. “It was problematic how [Trump] framed it … he made it sound more like we were intervening in a heroic way when really, what prompted the decision was the fact that ISIS forces were becoming more present in Syria,” she said. She believes that Trump was using the US strike as a way to attract attention to himself and the Republican party before the 2018 US midterm elections. “[The Syria strike] was all in the name of nationalism,” said McDermott.

McDermott believes that the international community needs to take action, involving a unified push for conflict resolution. “Something needs to happen but it needs to be a concerted effort … I think that the UN needs to be on board with it,” said McDermott. “It’s really important to recognize that Syria is a country in need,” she said. McDermott believes that efforts taken in Syria should focus on helping Syrians and resolving the conflict.

Regarding Trump’s decision to tweet twice about the US strike on Syria, McDermott said, “I think it’s a huge problem when that is communicated on a social platform … It can cause a very volatile state when the world and other leaders are reacting to a very, very sensitive issue that could lead to international conflict.”

Aaron Perdue ‘21 is a self-described Trump supporter. Perdue said that he supports Trump because “we got all these problems in the country that needs fixing” and he believes Trump is addressing those issues. He cited the conflict in the Korean peninsula as proof that Trump is also effective in dealing with complicated topics outside the US. He has a positive opinion of Trump’s tweets, describing them as humorous.

Perdue also disapproved of the US attack, saying that the strike was ill-planned and ineffective. “As soon as he seen or heard about it he sent missile at the air field base and could of [sic] killed people especially if there was Russian that died [sic] a Russia might go to war,” Perdue said. He said the strike was not effective because the US, UK and France might have targeted the wrong country. “We don[‘]t [k]now if it was [Syria] that [attacked its citizens].”
Perdue believes the US should further investigate the chemical attack and confirm that the Syrian government was responsible before we take further action. Perdue believes that the Syrian government may not have been responsible for the chemical attacks.

Perdue did not think Trump’s tweets prior to the strike negatively affected the strike, saying that they weren’t important and did nothing to escalate the situation.

While Trump has not taken further action on Syria yet, it is still possible for him to take further military action without Congress’s approval if he finds weapons of mass destruction in Syria. We’ll have to see what Trump will or won’t do.

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