As children we learn life’s lessons the hard way. If we touch a hot stove we get burned, and as a result, we learn not to touch hot stoves again in the future. If as children we are smart enough to learn from our mistakes, then it seems almost shocking that the government has not learned anything from its own blunders throughout history.
Obama, the supposedly antiwar president, recently announced that America will aid the rebels in Syria by sending them arms to fight the Syrian regime. President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels has been used as justification for intervening in Syria’s ongoing civil war.
Though it cannot be denied that the use of chemical weapons is dreadful, to say the least, it seems many Americans may have experienced a slight case of amnesia. After all, it was not so long ago when our government became similarly involved in Iraq, sending weapons and support to Saddam Hussein in his fight against Iran — support which ultimately "built Saddam's Iraq into the power it became." Of course, we all know how well that turned out: We supplied Iraq with chemical weapons, and Hussein turned them on his own people.
It would appear that this “red line” President Obama has accused President Assad of crossing is relative according to the date. What is now an atrocity against humanity (chemical weaponry) was once United States aid. And needless to say, it's not hard to imagine a future in which our Syrian rebel allies become our enemies as did our Iraqi protégé.
According to Antiwar.com's casualty count, the official count of American casualties suffered in Iraq since our occupation there in 2003 has surpassed 32,000. Even though the official casualties number are in the thirty-two thousands, it is estimated that the number is actually somewhere around 100,000. This does not account for the emotional and mental repercussions felt by returning veterans or the 1,455,590 Iraqi deaths due to the American occupation.
The Iraq situation alone seems like enough to make any government official pause and wonder if sending aid, paving the way for further involvement in Syria, is really worth risking our own resources and people. Like Iraq, intervention in Syria is a grave error — but it's one which can be avoided if historical lessons are learned.