Locals express their thoughts on possible US attack on Syria

Posted on Sept. 6, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sept. 6, 2013 at 7:44 p.m.

Correspondent Mark Shephard visited Goshen this week and asked, “What thoughts do you have on the crisis in Syria?”

Tyler Hartford, Mennonite minister, Goshen:

“I think what I find intriguing about this is more than ever I’m hearing conservatives and liberals say that we shouldn’t get involved, and that’s a unique place to be. I think some of these other conflicts have been maybe a little more clear cut in the public’s mind as to whether we should be involved. I just find that in this particular conflict the public opinion that I’m aware of is very much against it.” Follow-up question: Do you think if we fire cruise missiles to send a warning shot that the conflict could broaden into a wider war? “I just think it’s going to contribute toward resentment in the area. I just don’t know how we’re going to be able to drill it down to rebel versus the Syrian Army. It’s not as precise as we’d like to think it is.”

Andrea Moya, Goshen College senior, Goshen:

“I think it’s a problem that has a lot of layers, so I don’t think there is one solution to it. I think you have to understand this conflict, which is a mix of religion and culture, and also politics. I think that the only way to solve it is to get local people that live there to work on it. So I don’t think it would be helpful for the U.S. to go ahead and intervene. I think it is important for the people of that country to take control of their country because they’re the ones that know their context better than anyone else.”

Larry Libey, winery owner/vintner, Goshen:

“Any use of chemical weapons is a violation, and I don’t see any country that should be able to use chemical weapons, whether it’s against their own people or anybody else.” Follow-up question: Do you think if we fire cruise missiles to send a warning shot that this could draw us into a wider war? “Unfortunately, the United States is the only policing action in the world. We’re the only ones that can really take care of everybody else. I don’t know if warning shots are really going to do any good. It’s been pretty much documented that in the Middle East that once they start any track of action, they pretty much finish that action till the very end. Could it draw us in there? It very well could.”

Mitch Pilarski, sales, Canton, Mich.:

“I wish I knew for certain why we would get involved with this skirmish, because I have a half reason to believe that it has to do with the Qatar gas field either going to Europe or going to Russia, and so I think this has more to do with natural resources than it has to do with human rights.” Follow-up question: If we take action and this turns into a larger war, how do you think the American people will respond in general? “Today, I think I read that 60 percent of the American people don’t want to get involved in another war. You still have the cloud of Iraq hanging over us, and if we back up to the prior war where Bush senior basically got allies to back his plan, that seemed to be a war that we could win and maintain good international relationships, whereas with Bush Jr. just the opposite happened. And so if we look at this potential war in Syria, I would only hope that we get as many European allies as we can.”

Michele Brown, purchasing agent, Middlebury:

“I just think we should stay out of it.” Follow-up question: If you were a mother who had lost a child to a nerve gas attack in Syria, what would you want a country like the United States to do? “If I was a mother over there, of course I would want them to come in and help us, but I’m a mother here, and I don’t want them to come here and hurt my children.”

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