Should the U.S. launch a military strike against Syria after that government’s apparent use of chemical weapons? Just what motives justify involvement in the internal conflict of another country?
Newspaper and television coverage has depicted lines of dead wrapped in shrouds, including children, and some Americans have spoken of the moral necessity to respond.
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WHEN WE INTERVENED
The following is a list of some internal conflicts in the past two decades in which the U.S. did intervene militarily. All were sanctioned by either the United Nations or NATO:
- 2011, Libya: Bombing, missiles, NATO coordinates air strikes and missile attacks against government of Muammar Gaddafi during uprising by rebel army.
- 1999, Kosovo: Bombing, missiles, heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw; NATO occupation of Kosovo.
- 1995, Bosnia: Bombing; no-fly zone patrolled in civil war.
- 1994, Haiti: Troops, ships; blockade against military government; troops restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to office three years after coup.
- 1992-94, Somalia: Troops, ships, bombing; U.S.-led occupation during civil war; raids against one rebel faction.
WHEN WE DIDN’T
Large scale humanitarian crises in which the U.S. did not intervene militarily:
- 1996-2008, Congo: The International Rescue Committee has said that at least 3.9 million people died, including in combat and from starvation and disease caused by fighting.
- 1994, Rwanda: At least 800,000 killed in 100 days, mostly Tutsis killed by rival Hutu tribe.