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Why America should not make a military strike on Syria | My Turn
I am a 16-year-old American male teenager who is a senior at the International Community School in Kirkland. I write this in the comfort of my suburban home near Lake Sammamish in Redmond. I live with both my parents and my brother.
All I have to do is show up to school, do my homework and stay out of trouble. In return, I lead a sheltered life and have everything I could need.
Why should I care whether America makes a military strike in Syria?
If the United States decides to attack, much of the world would view it as a direct violation of international law, as the Charter of the United Nations only allows the use of force in two cases.
One, in the case of self defense in the face of an imminent attack, and two, in the case of a threat to international peace. The international response to an attack would be highly critical and result in unpredictable global tensions.
If the United States continues forward, Russia has made it clear that it has a drastic response prepared.
But, most importantly, an attack on Syria would personally effect my life. To the average eye, I am just another American, but on the inside I’m split, right down the middle.
My mother is American. Her family goes back more than a century in the state of Washington. My dad is Arabic. He grew up in Algeria and attended the University of Geneva, where he met my mother. Now I live here, as a cultural dichotomy spliced together as one human.
My grandmother on my mom’s side lives in Sammamish. Everyone on my dad’s side lives halfway across the world on a separate continent. I’ve always wanted to visit, but my parents have always been hesitant because of the split between Western and Eastern cultures.
My first thought when entering another country should not be that the people who live there look upon me with disgust because of the actions my country chose to make, actions that brought harm to their people and their way of life.
I don’t want to live in a future where one part of my culture, my own family, despises the other.
This should not be my fate, but it is currently the reality of present day, and will also be my future if America chooses to strike Syria.
I believe that America should restrain its hand from entering the Syrian civil war. It is a conflict taking place in land outside of its own, in a culture its own people do not fully understand.
As a teen, this decision has no effect on me, for now. The decisions our country make now in regard to Syria could potentially light up an area doused in gasoline, and my generation would be left to put out the flames.
The international response to a U.S. military strike in Syria from countries like Iran and Russia is unpredictable and would likely prove disastrous for American foreign relations.
When it comes down to it, the United States is on the verge of making a huge bet, a bet that no matter how it plays out, can only guarantee one outcome - a loss.
How big that loss will be is unknown, but it could very well be a loss greater than what our country can afford.
Josef Benzaoui is a senior at International Community School in Kirkland.