Imagine you’re a teenage Syrian. You’ve been displaced from where you used to live, separated from your friends, and uncertain about what the future holds. Life in a refugee camp can barely be called a life. News arrives that the bodies of your parents have been found; they were “collateral damage” in what was an airstrike conducted by the west.
How would you feel?
Are you going to shrug it off, considerate of the fact that the west are nobly trying to exterminate terrorists, or will you harbour resentment, angry at how little they value the cost of human life having used bombs, fully aware of how indiscriminate they are in killing people?
Currently, the UK government is debating whether or not to launch strikes in Syria. The incumbent Conservative majority has proposed the motion, and some members of the Labour party also seem partial to the idea despite their leader opposing such action. This means the UK will most likely end up launching airstrikes in Syria. People may not consciously be thinking about it but another burden we must face if we are go down this path is more refugees. How can you be of the opinion that we should airstrike Syria, and then deny displaced refugees fleeing asylum?
Putting aside my personal opposition to the motion proposed by the government, I’d like to pose a few questions not only to them but to anyone who thinks that bombing is a solution to the unrest we’ve been seeing.
How is bombing Syria going to make us safer? When you recognise that ISIS operates outside of Raqqa too, then surely you realise that concentrated strikes there will do little to avert the overarching threat ISIS poses to us? Multiple perpetrators of the attacks on Paris were in fact Belgian and French nationals, and if anyone it is people being radicalised on our own soil that pose a greater threat to us.
How much easier is it going to be for ISIS to portray the west as murderers? Innocents are already being used unashamedly as human shields and so it would be wishful thinking to believe we would not be responsible for innocents dying. Now, any kind of action we take will inevitably result in the loss of civilian life, but airstrikes that put the Syrian people at risk while we ourselves face no immediate casualties seems less acceptable and more unfair.
How are we going to the explain the inevitable civilian casualties that will follow if we go ahead and initiate airstrikes? If history is anything to go by, not only will this makes incensed the very same people we are trying to help but it will drive some of these people into actively stopping our involvement, perhaps even violently. Airstrikes will breed further terror, it won’t contain it.
Just think about this: has the Middle East valued our intervention in the past, and will they do so this time? On both an ethical and practical level it is ineffective and plain wrong to launch airstrikes in Syria. If we’re to intervene it should certainly not be like this.
Agree, disagree? Drop a comment below!