Syria has been a war zone for some time now and after it was announced that the Syrian government was responsible for recent attacks using chemical weapons, President Obama is now preparing for a U.S. military strike. The big difference between the American people and their views on war now compared to a decade ago is that the country is now tired. When George W. Bush told the American people that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction," the country was split, but many put their trust in the president and moved forward. The country also found its way into a war with Afghanistan where troops still remain.
After it was revealed that Iraq never had the weapons they were accused of having, the American people watched their government flush billions of dollars down the drain in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the last ten years. In addition to the financial hit the country has taken, thousands of soldiers have been killed in battle and many who return home do so wounded, not just physically, but also mentally as well.
The thought of yet another war has many Americans worried. According to a new NBC poll, 50 percent of Americans oppose a war in Syria, with nearly 80 percent wanting congressional approval before the President makes his final decision. Though Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have stated that their will be "no boots on the ground," many are skeptical. Knowing the issue the American people have with another war, one must think how the potential war money could be used instead of in Syria.
1. Education: Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, the future of America should be one of the top issues when speaking about American politics. Unfortunately, over the years education in the U.S. has cut on both a national and local level. As funds have been cut, so has the effectiveness of the educators which in turn have hurt the students who will someday be running the country. Teachers have been demonized by the political right as "greedy, union thugs" who are more worried about their pay check rather than doing their job right. President Bush enacted the "No child left behind" education reform, but it has done little good and has just put more pressure on the students. Teachers are now instructed to concentrate more on getting students to pass a test rather than actually teaching. With their jobs on the line, teachers are often forced to do whatever they can to keep their jobs, even if it means sacrificing what they went to school for - educating the children.
2. College Students: Continuing the theme of education, focus must be put advanced education. In 2011, college student debt eclipsed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in history and actually passed the amount of credit card debt owed by the American people. When students finally make it out of college, they are often forced to take lower paying jobs just to help pay down the debt they piled up going to college. With an interest rate being threatened to increase each passing year, students who finally make it through college are never at ease. Instead of another war, money should be invested in higher education, possibly forgiving or restructuring loans to make it more manageable for the new generation.
3. Infrastructure: Drive down road, cross over a bridge or head under a tunnel. It's usually not a pretty sight as the roads have become bumpy, the tunnels dirty and bridges ready to collapse. As union membership has declined over the last thirty years, so has the quality of the American infrastructure. The United States government needs to invest taxpayer money back into country so it can be strong for decades to come. President Obama proposed similar action with his "American Jobs Act," but it was quickly dismissed by congressional Republicans due to the lack of tax breaks for the most wealthy.
4. Health Care: Republicans scream about the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," on a daily basis and just recently attempted to repeal the legislation for the 40th time. Claiming it is a "socialist government takeover" of the health care industry, Republicans still haven't offered a reasonable replacement. On the flip side, liberals on the political left have an issue with President Obama's heath care reform because they don't believe it went far enough. Instead of offering a government plan, or public option, to choose from, Americans are being forced to by a private product from an industry they have been taught to hate - health insurance companies. Using money that could be spent in a war and using it to tweak the issues with "Obamacare" could go a long way at easing the minds of Americans on both sides of aisle.