While the mainstream media continues to concern itself with frivolous news stories and party politics, an issue graver and more important looms over the United States. After two years and thousands of deaths, the conflict between the Syrian government and rebels rages on. The United States and the Western governments watch, considering intervention. Any intervention in Syria is unwise, but it would be absurd and dangerous for the United States to charge into the Syrian mire.

The Syrian conflict continues into its second year, but length is not the reason for Western governments’ desire for intervention. The United Nations estimates the Syrian conflict has killed “at least 80,000,” noting that many deaths are civilians. (Some sources estimate much higher death tolls.) Taking into consideration the United Nations’ ideology and reputation, leading us to conclude they eagerly await intervention—this number might be wrong. Regardless, the Syrian conflict bears a high body count. Any innocent death is a tragedy, but even on a mass scale, this does not justify war.

But mass deaths cannot be the only reason so many in the American government wish to go to war in Syria. If purely humanitarian grounds were satisfactory, the American military would have swarmed over Africa long ago. The Syrian rebels are not innocents, but combatants in a war. According to what we are supposed to think, their war is fought for that system with an elusive meaning and idealistic aims: democracy, in light of the Arab Spring. As in Libya and Egypt, this reason is why many in the American government wish to intervene in Syria.

The reality too many ignore or are ignorant of is that both democracy and the Arab Spring are dangerous shams. Democracy, in its legitimizing the majority’s despotism, inevitably leads to tyranny and stifling of liberty. The Arab Spring cloaked itself in democracy and democratic ideals, but further investigation showed these too as fraudulent assertions. In Egypt, the Arab Spring led to an Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, rising to prominence. In Libya, Al Qaeda cements itself, possible only with the American-aided toppling of Gaddafi. (It should also be noted that the Libyan rebels had jihadists in their ranks.) If Syria is too part of this “glorious” Arab Spring, why should we expect anything different than the things seen in Egypt and Libya?

Though, these claims are not merely inferred from the rise other new governments originating from the Arab Spring. No, facts abound showing the Syrian rebels as Islamists and jihadists. And the maddening element to this aspect is that the facts are by no means new or recent. They have been available shortly since the conflict started.

In December, the New York Times reported that Al Qaeda-linked rebels gained an important place among the rebel forces. TheBlaze, in April, shed further light on Al Qaeda’s role in fighting the Syrian government, with the aims of establishing an Islamic state. And this week, Reuters reported that United Nations investigators further cemented the picture painted. These investigators observed, “‘It was said the rebels were angels, but there is only a minority of fighters with a democratic history who believe in the Syrian mosaic and want a state for all…. The majority of rebels are very far from having democratic thoughts and have other aspirations.’”

Intervention and aid’s results should be clear, but let us look into history for greater clarity and perspective.

There exist many parallels between the Syrian conflict and the American government’s action during the Cold War, but one example stands out. In 1979, after a series of internal events, Soviet troops entered Afghanistan. The next ten years destroyed a fascinating and beautiful corner of Asia—a land that captivated countless travelers and adventurers. During this war, the American government, along with the British and Pakistanis, supported a rebel group in their struggle against the Soviets. This group’s name was the Taliban and was composed largely of foreign Islamists. Some of the Taliban members from this war included a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden and Mohammed Omar.

Viewing the Soviet’s war in Afghanistan with a few decades’ perspective, we see a clear and grave danger in intervening in Syria. At a basic level, intervention is fundamentally opposed to the United States’ founding principles, as Syria has not attacked the United States. But there stand consequences apart from philosophical implications.

Some think that it is possible to aid and arm the “right” rebels in Syria (i.e. non-Islamists). But with the Islamists’ significance to the rebel movement, this appears impossible. Additionally, how is the American government to ensure no aid reaches Islamists? Even if aid didn’t reach Islamists rebels, one may reason that merely aiding non-Islamists would still help the Islamists, as they still associate themselves with the rebel movement. From this, then, we establish that any form of aid or intervention will help Islamist rebels.

Reason and a full perspective reveal that any form of aid or intervention in Syria is absurd. It is contrary to liberty’s principles and dangerous. We live in a world influenced by intervening in a conflict between Soviets and militants roughly thirty years ago, we can only imagine the results in the Syria, a country with significant oil production.

We cannot know with certainty what course the government will take. Some see the situation with clarity. Rand Paul, one the few voices of reason left in government, his fellow Committee on Foreign Relations members as support of aid as “‘…funding the allies of Al Qaeda.’” Parallel to Paul, is John McCain, who visited rebels in Syria. We may be certain of one thing, though: our intelligent and staunch opposition to any involvement in the Syrian mire.


Christian Lopac | Wabash College | @CLopac