Bosnia in 1992, Rwanda in 1994, Kosovo in 1998, Darfur in 2003 and today, in Syria.

America is left to decide whether or not they should aid of the victims of mass murder at the hands of their respective governments. Is America obligated to provide arms, hospice and military backing to a country whose people have been the victims of chemical warfare, a violation of the Geneva Protocol?

As an Albanian and someone who witnessed firsthand the mass murder of Kosovar-Albanians in the 90s, I believe that America should show the same courage and dedication to the preservation of human rights as they did in the Balkan region.

On Aug. 22, 2013, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack upon civilians in the suburbs of Damascus, the capital of Syria and its second largest city. The Obama Administration cited that over 1,429 people were killed, a toll that included 426 children. The Syrian government not only denied the attack, but they claimed it was a tactic used by the rebel forces to shift public opinion on their side.

These are the facts. There have been an overwhelming amount of videos and pictures that show the horror of a chemical attack: dying children lined up in makeshift hospital beds, men and women foaming from the mouth as their skin burns away.

The Bashar Regime can deny the chemical attack but given the world of communication and sharing we live in, it becomes more and more difficult for him to hide behind Putin, an ally of Syria. These are the images we see and they are the images Americans are willfully choosing to ignore.

There is fear that if the American military does launch an airstrike against Syria, it would encourage retaliation, thus endangering our national security. In President Barack Obama’s national address on Syria, he claimed that the “Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military.”

Did he say military? What about us at home?

Well to that, Obama says that any threat from Syria would simply go in line with the threats America receives daily and they would be handled as such. Moreover, Obama is sure that “Assad, nor his allies, have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise.”

Of course retaliation is the first fear that Americans have, and it is normal and acceptable. Yet, it is important to know that the American government always puts American lives before others.

In the grand scheme of things, the American government would not care to interfere with Syria if the danger to American lives was serious, even if chemical weapons were used. It’s safe to assume that the chance of retaliation is just as possible as the chance of Serbia attacking America after our military launched an airstrike on them during the Balkan War.

Syria has been in a violent civil war since 2011 and the Obama Administration chose not to be involved. In June of this year, the UN reported 100,000 deaths resulting from this civil war and still, the Obama Administration chose not to interfere. There were even reports of widespread torture and imprisonment and still the Obama Administration gritted their teeth and decided that it was not their issue.

We do not want to interfere. We do not want military involvement. But we can’t stand by and watch a government fire chemical weapons against its own people. How can we sit back as a country blatantly violates the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1997, an act put in place by the American Congress to ensure that never again would America be unreactive to a chemical weapons attack.

Never again.

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