Syria Debate – In Review



Side One:  Professor Haley and Will Mitchell

Key Points:

  • In favor of military intervention
  • The U.S. should use force against the Assad regime for a handful of reasons, including our obligation as human beings to respond to such crimes and to ensure future stability in the region
  • We should arm and train moderate members of the rebellion and provide them with resources to enable them to be a credible governing body

Side Two:  Professor Taw and Abby Dolmseth

Key Points:

  • Against military intervention
  • We must not use force for many reasons, including the fact that there is no concrete evidence that should lead us to believe that we can bring down the Assad regime, and if we do bring them down using force, what resources and forces do we plan to use to keep the peace?  The U.S. does not have enough supportive allies regarding this situation and we will not have the backing of many international organizations.
  • There are problems with finding the “right” rebels to arm.  The U.S. does not have the best track record in supporting rebel groups, such as previous examples in Iraq and Afghanistan

Q & A

  • Q: How do you find the “right” rebels to arm and train?
  • A: Professor Haley and Will Mitchell – Based on intelligence the U.S. has about the different groups.  Ultimately, “to govern is to choose.”  While these types of choices are extremely difficult, we must make them.
  • Q: Why Syria?  Why is this conflict more important than conflicts in other areas?
  • A: Professor Haley and Will Mitchell – Syria’s location makes it of particular interest to the U.S.  There are no resources in Syria, but there are many implications of the ties Syria has with other nations.  President Obama made a commitment when he spoke of crossing a “red line.”  Also, while the U.S. cannot always enforce the international law in every humanitarian crisis, it is better for the U.S. to selectively enforce than to never enforce the law.
  • Q: How can Libya be seen as a precedent for dealing with this crisis?
  • A: Professor Taw and Abby Dolmseth – Overthrowing Gaddafi ultimately did not change much.  Intervention does not guarantee regime change and regime change does not guarantee an improvement in civilian life.

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