We’ve been hearing it from all over the place for quite a while and there are indeed concerns worthy of diving into. Have we as a nation become too timid to involve our military due to fears of getting bogged down in a worthless conflict? Making things worse? We’ve seen what it looks like when the United States utilizes its military might, and we’ve seen what happens when it doesn’t. Really, neither situation tends to end well in the Middle East and North Africa.


Nuance is Absent

It seems that on the national stage, things have gotten to the point where the majority seems to agree that talking about the issue was the problem — that by not addressing the consequences of our action (and inaction), we can save ourselves the discomfort of actually talking about substantive policy questions.

What we’re missing is the nuance of the conversation. We’re missing the stories of the great good that so many of us did in Iraq (the bad things have been amply covered). We’re missing the in-depth discussion of the ramifications of not acting in other countries — something that the US has an unfortunate history of doing as well (just ask the Kurds about after the Persian Gulf War).

These are not simple questions with simple answers. Sure, the discussion during down time while in the military might have ended with “just turn the middle east into glass,” but that doesn’t really do anything for the reality of the problem. How many could honestly list the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims, or can identify what Wahhabism is? And whatever happened to “knowing your enemy”? Sure, we might get a class or two crammed in, but it’s the engagement of US personnel on the ground with locals that truly fosters a spirit of caring for others that we preach as a nation.


Syria is Burning

If it weren’t so godawful, it would almost be funny. In the pre-9/11 world, the US would have jumped into Syria’s civil war in a heartbeat. But now, after years of trying to fix broken nations and broken systems, the public will to sacrifice American blood at the altar of other people’s liberty seems to be a bit lacking.

Just this past week, there have been major clashes in Aleppo, leaving both sides wrecked and the civilian population trying to get anywhere but in the middle of a few superpowers’ proxy war.

A Mixture of Ideologies

So we move to the realm of rumor and innuendo. Operators are making moves in Syria, but most official US involvement comes from Iraq. ISIS is firmly rooted against the Syrian government, but the US is against the Syrian government as well. We’re moving into a new realm of dealing in which the enemy of your enemy isn’t just your friend as it had been in generations past.

It almost seems like the only thing pushing the US into further involvement comes from two sources. On the one hand, there’s Russia’s involvement. Russia’s been trying to emerge again as a superpower by getting involved in places like Syria and Ukraine. The other source of involvement is a major event — such as 9/11. Will it take another one? Will we have to be directly attacked on that scale again before our military is again unleashed? Do we need a breathing period as a nation? Are we currently in the middle of one?

Most of the people I was with are ready for any fight — any day, any time, anywhere. The onus is really on the nation this time to make sure that the cause is just and pure. But black and white wars seem to be a thing of the past. Where we go from here is really up to us.

No matter what the conflict, we stand ready.

Relentlessly patriotic is one of the values that Nine Line holds most dear. And rest assured that no matter where our forces will be engaged next, we’ll be right there supporting them and their families.