Syria debate: Sen. Paul’s unfit comments

Sep 4, 2013, 5:05 am          

Syria debate: Sen. Paul’s unfit comments


  • By Dawud Walid

The national debate over whether America should intervene militarily in Syria is healthy. The executive branch has the duty to be transparent as to why we should take military action against another country.

President Obama made a prudent decision by opening up the debate in Congress, which represents the voices of the people. I hope that our senators and representatives discuss the pros and cons with decorum based upon the long-term interests of the United States, the Syrian people and its neighbors.

But Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, made a troubling point Sunday on “Meet the Press” as to his concerns about the Syrian crisis. Paul said Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad “has protected Christians for a number of decades” – referring to the opposition as “Islamic rebels.”

Our national calculation for foreign intervention should not be based on the premise of some lives being more precious than others. The overwhelmingly majority of the 100,000-plus fatalities and 2 million refugees (1 million of them being children) are Muslims. Paul’s statements infer that Christian lives are more precious than Muslims.

Just as there are rebels who are Muslim, there are a large number of Muslims who are in the Syrian army, including some of its military officers. Paul’s derogatory use of the term,“Islamic,” furthers the Clash of Civilizations framework and paints our military as crusaders.

While discussing the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, which operates in Syria, is valid, the group should not be mislabeled as “Islamic.” Wanton violence has nothing to do with faith. Furthermore, the majority of Al-Qaeda’s victims follow the Islamic faith.

In the coming days, I hope Congress sticks to substantive issues pertaining to chemical weapons having been used in Syria and the consequences for and against taking military action. The value of life, based on religious affiliation or lack thereof, should not be a part of the conversation.


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