Ask the right questions about Syria

Brittany Walker

Since the president’s decision to appeal for congressional support to perform a military strike in Syria, the media has been flooded with horrific images and videos of Syrians suffering the effects of chemical warfare. Congress and American citizens have been watching, trying to form decisions and opinions on how the United States should respond. But I ask the media, where is the footage of American cancer patients wasting away on their deathbeds?

I ask it because if the Obama administration is so concerned about deaths due to chemical exposure, then we should ask what it plans to do about the deadly chemical war occurring on the home front. I am speaking about the 34,000 annual cancer deaths that can be directly attributed to exposure to carcinogenic chemicals in our food, water, air, personal care products, home products, etc. I do not want to downplay untimely deaths in any fashion, but 34,000 stands in stark contrast to the 1,400 Syrians that died in the chemical attack. While Americans die early deaths due to chemical exposure in their everyday lives, the Obama administration goads us into being the police of the world once again.

The point is that America believes it is Superman. We are seemingly invincible; we feel we must fly around and try to save the world from itself. Meanwhile at home, thousands die of cancer from chemical exposure. We fall in our quality of education, health care and job opportunity. We rise in our debt, income disparity, depression rates and infant mortality rates. Even Superman had his kryptonite. Perhaps America’s kryptonite will be the neglect of its own people.

We cannot control what President Obama does or does not do, but we can watch the media through skeptical eyes. We can listen to politicians with guarded ears. We can make our opinions on matters like these with informed, insightful minds. The underlying motives and power plays at work in international situations like Syria will not be talked about in the media. The real reasons for performing military strikes in Syria will be shrouded in gut wrenching images of convulsing children. We get so distracted that we don’t ask the questions that need to be asked. For the sake of our nation, we must ask those questions.