Back in 2001, social media was still in its infancy so if there was online debate about the events of September 11, it was likely some obscure conversation on a message board. Today, everything is debated in social media and by everyone including media pundits, the average concerned citizen, veterans and soldiers on active duty.
Case in point: Jake Tapper, author of The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, captured a conversation between two soldiers on Facebook about the pros and cons of the potential American action in Syria. One soldier was adamant that America has an obligation to step in where there are human rights violations and “boots on the ground” was the best approach.
“America holds the responsibility of defending the innocent from tyrants and genocide not only in America but all over the world. The same way any normal man would defend a child being beaten to death in the street,” he said.
The second soldier argued that there is no benefit to boots on the ground, asserting that more violence will not help to stabilize the condition in the Middle East. “There is no real difference in death by bomb, artillery, bullet or gas. Death is death.”
The discussion highlights just what a dilemma the Syrian conflict presents for world leaders. While some would frame the debate with the facade of saving American credibility, in reality things are rarely as black and white as they may seem. Even people on the front lines disagree on fundamental issues — despite both having served together in the Afghanistan war. Indeed, the job of leaders who must decide what to do next is not an easy one.
Read more of the conversation on Jake Tapper’s blog.