As President Obama meets with lawmakers to forge support for limited military action in Syria, Prince George’s County residents waded into the fray, many of them opposing the prospect of the U.S. getting into another military conflict.
Ralph S. Williams, 30, of District Heights said the U.S. needs to take care of its own problems.
“I don't think our country needs to be worried about other countries when we have too many issues to deal with here,” he said. “I think war of any kind is stupid and it just sends hundreds and thousands of young men and women to their deaths.
Then, when the troops come back home to civilization, they are met with hardships and tons of waiting lists for jobs and places to live.”
Williams has a brother who is currently serving in the military.
“It's tough having a close family member in the military and you're not in it with them,” he said. “You’re used to seeing that person everyday or almost everyday and then you see them once a year...maybe.”
He said the risk is too great for the benefits.
“The money they make is laughable for what they do,” Williams said of military personnel. “Then, when they come home, they can't get jobs and if they do it’s something minimum wage or something that they can't live on.”
Like Waters, he believes the money could be better spent.
“All the money they spend on wars could be spent on homelessness and poverty since so many of our troops end up that way anyways,” Williams said. “They need to fix their own country before they try and go in and tell someone else how to run their country.”
Dwayne T. Allen of Clinton, 25, who has several friends and relatives who serve in the armed forces, told the AFRO: “I think the situation in Syria is a rough situation. Any time you have an uprising or civil war, there's always unfortunate large numbers of casualties. The conflict in Syria is an in-house situation and unless Syria asks for help, we should allow them to deal with their issues before getting involved. The United States has a habit of sending troops to different countries only on suspicion and many people have died in the process. I do have family and a couple of friends in the military.”
Prince George’s Community College student Micah L. Perry of District Heights, 19, also agrees that military action should not be taken.
“We have already seen what happens to people that go to war,” he said. “Although most of them do come back, there are countless soldiers who are not fortunate enough to come back. This is their job and they are trained for this, but this situation is not serious enough for them to go to war. We have issues in the United States that need to be handled…before we start worrying about what other countries are doing. I have a brother-in-law who is away from his 11 month-old child and his pregnant wife. He does not have time to spend with his family because he continually goes away for military purposes.”
Brian H. Waters, 27, a production assistant at ESPN who lives in Baltimore County, said he has a cousin in the U.S. Army. He does not think the United States should take military action against Syria, despite the fact that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is suspected of using chemical weapons against civilians on Aug. 21 in Damascus. He does not like the idea of an attack on Syria, even if it is limited in scope.
“I feel that this is dangerous, but I wish they could talk rather than fight,” Waters told the AFRO. “I do not think the U.S. should get involved because we already had one war and that was bad enough. Too many lives are being lost on personal vendettas. War is not the answer. Having family in the military has me on the edge of my seat all the time.”