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What would Reagan do about Syria?

Concerning Syria, what would President Reagan do? History reveals that answer.
Concerning Syria, what would President Reagan do? History reveals that answer.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Syria is in the news daily. The United States is weighing the use of military options, even though polls reveal that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want the United States to become involved.

According to a recent Reuters poll, 29 percent of Americans favor intervention. That number has climbed from only 9 percent approval rating from late August 2013.

We’ve all seen horrible video footage of death and misery on a massive scale in Syria due to chemical weapon attacks.

More than likely, the visual effects are playing a part in why polls revealed more Americans are approving of military intervention. We also understand the fact that chemical weapons are banned in any warfare. These combined details may explain why more people are demanding that Obama take action.

What would President Reagan do?

Fortunately, we don’t need to speculate about what Ronald Reagan would do, because he faced this exact same situation in the 1980s.

A Little History

For much of the 1980s, Iraq and Iran were engaged in a brutal war with one another. The United States supported Iraq because Iran was still very hostile toward the U.S. When there was proof that Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, President Reagan ignored that proof and did nothing. The United States even opposed a UN statement condemning Iraq for using chemical weapons in the war.

Toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, gassed entire villages of ethnic Kurds in his own country, killing about 5000 men, women and children. TV news videos at the time showed countless families lying dead in the streets and in their homes. Those who survived suffered severe respiratory problems, blindness, and other severe health problems. Long term effects included higher rates of cancer and miscarriages. Click here for details.

Countries all over the world condemned Saddam for this horrible atrocity and our allies even proposed sanctions against Iraq. President Reagan, however, did nothing. He was silent, refusing to even speak a single harsh word against his ally, Saddam.

Republicans in Congress responded to President Reagan’s inaction with silence of their own. No one dared criticize Reagan for refusing to acknowledge the atrocities committed by Saddam.

Praises for Reagan

Since Ronald Reagan is exalted by Republican politicians who believe every action he took, every decision he made was stunning in its perfection, then his handling of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons clearly exemplifies the right course of action.

So there you have it. It’s clear that President Obama needs to take his cue from the great Ronald Reagan. He merely needs to pretend that the chemical attacks is Syria never happened and there will be no criticism from Republicans and no political price to pay for ignoring the horrific death and suffering of thousands in Syria.

Back To Reality

Unfortunately, President Obama does not find it as easy as President Reagan did to turn a blind eye and ignore such a horrible crime against humanity.

However, realistically speaking, there are other countries that also treat their citizens badly. Innocent people are abused and even murdered in far too many countries around the world.

For example, North Korea still operates prison camps like the Kaechon internment camp. The North Korean government sentences entire families, sometimes for three generations, because a family member may have committed a minor infraction. Sometimes North Korean individuals are sent to prison, yet they don't even know what they did wrong.

Shin Dong-hyuk is a young man that was born into a North Korean prison camp. He escaped and describes horrors such as his mother being executed before his eyes when he was a young child, his middle finger being cut off for accidentally dropping a sewing machine, prison guards beating and raping young girls, and more.

Yet the United States ignores North Korea and other countries that continue to allow severe human rights violations.

What Do You Think?

We now know what Ronald Reagan would have done. What do you think about this article and the United States intervening with Syria?


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