Abby D. Virginia

The Syrian Civil War

Everyday, innocent people are dying in Syria and terrorism is spreading worldwide. However, the United States is not effectively dealing with the cause. That needs to change.

Dear President Clinton,

First, may I extend my congratulations to you for being elected President of the United States after this long and unorthodox campaign season. It is wonderful to now say that we have a women president. Thank you for breaking that glass ceiling for the young women of my generation and girls growing up in this nation for years to come. Your win, a win for a gender silenced in so many nations, shows democracy and free thinking is as healthy as ever in the nation we call home.

However, these niceties are not the focus of this letter, American foreign policy on the Syrian Civil War is. With your long 30 year background in politics and a term as Secretary of State, I fully trust you are capable to handle America’s foreign policy decisions. Nevertheless, I would like to bring to your attention the mistake I believe is being made concerning the way America is handling the Syrian Civil War. In contrast to the current plan, American troops need to be deployed in Syria for things to begin to get better,

The first argument for intervention is the high likelihood that the war in Syria will spread to nations the U.S. has interests in. Spillover from one nation’s war in the form of refugees, terror groups, economic instability, or radical ideas can help spark civil wars in neighboring nations (Byman 2015). This civil war vacuum phenomenon must be contained; spillover from Syria has already sparked a new civil war in Iraq and threatens to do so in America allied nations such as Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon (Go Big or Stay Home 2016). Also, large oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran are potential victims of Syrian Civil War spillover (Fight or flight: America’s choice in the Middle East 2016). With the vast majority of Middle Eastern states dealing with civil unrest of varying degrees, the fire in Syria needs to put out by full American intervention before it spreads to allied nations or nations where oil production vital to the American economy would be threatened.

Additionally, the spillover from the Syrian Civil War can also be seen in the form of terrorism by groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known to Americans as ISIS, against western nations. Many would like to see the U.S. government only continue to fight terrorism by combatting ISIS domestically. However, this would be a losing fight. The real problem is the Syrian Civil War, and the acts of terror against the U.S. are just symptoms (Fight or flight: America’s choice in the Middle East 2016). You are quoted as saying, “One of the reasons why I worry about what’s happening in the Middle East right now is because of the breakout capacity of jihadist groups that can affect Europe, can affect the United States,” which shows me you understand the fact that jihadist groups are a spillover effect. The only way the spillover can be stopped is if American boots are put on the group in Syria. Deploying troops would give the U.S. a chance to stamp out ISIS directly, thus putting an end to the threat of domestic attacks carried out by their followers.

Furthermore, failure of western nations to fully combat terror groups in the past, such as al-Qaeda, in nations like Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq is what ultimately lead to the formation of ISIS. In fact, many cite your term as Secretary of State and the decisions you made as major failures that allowed ISIS to continue to grow into the thriving terror group it is today (Goldberg 2014). First by not properly withdrawing American forces from Iraq and then by not thoroughly attacking ISIS in its infancy, it could be argued that this may be true. Now, as the Commander in Chief of the largest military force in the world (Bender 2015), you are being given the chance to right your wrongs and crush ISIS now before it spreads even further, carries out more horrid attacks on the United States and its allies, and kills more innocent people.

Third, the confusing web of fighting in Syria has been furthered tangled by the United States’ half involvement. Everyone seems to be fighting each other and numerous countries are jumping into the fight, including Russia (Matthews 2015). A growing opposition against the Obama Administration's decision to fight in Syria indirectly by giving weapons and supplies to rebel groups says that many of these groups are jihadist groups, like the major American enemy ally ISIS, and helping them is indirectly helping ISIS. This plan was even one that you defended. If the U.S. got fully involved in Syria, the proxy war problem would be be dissolved because America could do its own fighting itself with no middle man. Troops on the ground would make it easier to target President Assad, the main goal of the invasion, while also fending off ISIS.

Finally, people are dying. Over 100,000 Syrians have died due to the war in two years, and without American military intervention, the war would rage for years to come, leading to hundreds of thousands more casualties (Fight or flight: America’s choice in the Middle East 2016). Granted, as many say, with the tens of thousands of troops that would need to be deployed to Syria to halt the war, American lives would be lost in the fight, but this is a necessary sacrifice to end the massive humanitarian crisis taking place in Syria. American citizens echo this sentiment: “most Americans [...] believe that the U.S. should intervene to prevent the worst humanitarian disasters, and many have argued that Syria constitutes just such a case” (Fight or flight: America’s choice in the Middle East 2016). Intervening with full force in Syria would stop the cataclysmic crisis the country is dealing with.

In conclusion, the United States should conduct a full military operation to end the Syrian Civil War. This would stop the dangerous spread of civil war into neighboring states and would help combat the threat of ISIS terrorism domestically in the U.S. Furthermore, it would end the need of America to be involved by picking rebel groups to arm. Finally, it would stop the tragic humanitarian crisis taking place in Syria. I hope that, perhaps, your adamant denial that troops will not be put on the ground in Syria is something that has a little wiggle room now that you have the presidency and do not have to appeal to the general population, who are still scarred from past Middle Eastern wars. So please Mrs President, with your new found power, do everything that is possible to get a strong American force on the ground in Syria.


Abby D.

                                                           Works Cited

Bender, Jeremy. "RANKED: The World's 20 Strongest Militaries." Business Insider. Business

     Insider, Inc, 03 Oct. 2015. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

Byman, Daniel. "Containing Syria's chaos." The National Interest 140 (2015): 30+. War and

     Terrorism Collection. Web. 7 Oct. 2016.

Bearak, Max. "‘We Will Give Him a Family': A 6-year-old Boy Writes Obama about Having a

     Refugee ‘brother'" Washington Post. The Washington Post, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 03 Oct.


Matthews, Owen. "Putin's Bloody Logic in Syria; The Islamic State is pushing the West to

     embrace the Kremlin's plan to end the Syrian civil war." Newsweek 4 Dec. 2015. War and

     Terrorism Collection. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Pollack, Kenneth M. "Fight or flight: America's choice in the Middle East." Foreign Affairs

     Mar.-Apr. 2016. War and Terrorism Collection. Web. 7 Oct. 2016.

Pollack, Kenneth M. "Go Big or Stay Home." Newsweek 30 Aug. 2013: 1. War and Terrorism

     Collection. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

Sprusansky, Dale. "Understanding ISIS: frequently asked questions." Washington Report on

     Middle East Affairs Oct. 2014: 19+. War and Terrorism Collection. Web. 3 Oct. 2016.

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AP Language & Composition students (11th grade) from Eastern View High School in Culpeper, VA are tasked with researching platforms, crafting political cartoons or pieces of satire, and writing letters and op-eds

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