Syria: To Intervene, or not to Intervene

By Elizabeth Scott
posted on April 22, 2013 in Politics and Society

Sometimes you can’t beat The Onion for brutal, telling honesty:

'Syrians' Lives Are Worthless,' Obama Tells Daughters Before Kissing Them Goodnight

That is not true, but in policy circles it feels like it may as well be. While some policy wonks measure the merits of intervention and its impact on regional politics, others track Syria’s chemical weapons. But from my perspective, that of an interested observer and student of international relations, there doesn’t seem to be a public outcry about the massive, ongoing loss of Syrian lives. The loss of life will cripple the country’s future. There are small, earnest groups raising attention and aid, but media and public attention haven’t been by Syria captured like they have by other crises, more recently in Darfur or South Sudan.

There are so many possible different reasons for this gap. It is hard to point to just one. Is it Arab Spring fatigue? A wariness of supporting unknown rebel factions in a rapidly shifting political landscape? A lack of compelling images striking the public’s emotions? U.S. reluctance to commit further resources to the region?

I don’t know the answer. I doubt there is just one answer. But I think these questions need to be asked, and attention must be paid. I refuse to believe any life is worthless.