We must do more worldwide to fight terrorism

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After the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, two sects of Islamic fundamentalists, quickly rose to power. Shortly after the U.S. liberated Iraq, the country began to slowly fall into the hands of the Shia sects.

These are not good signs for the U.S. Look at Syria, a country consumed by a civil war. With every passing day, President Bashar al-Assad is the focus of more pressure from the international community to relinquish his power. But when Assad does leave, who do you think will fill that power gap? Islamic fundamentalists.

Even though he’s a good friend of mine, I must say that Sen. John McCain was wrong when he recently visited Syria. This is no time for America to become involved in another conflict and be responsible for supplies, and eventually troops, costing taxpayers billions and jeopardizing the lives of our precious young men and women.

The instability throughout the region, and the power vacuum that the Syrian conflict has created, have already allowed Al Qaeda into the mix. There remains the distinct possibility that if we do choose to provide Syrian revolutionists with weapons today, those same weapons will be used against us tomorrow.

We must do more to stop wars before they start.

On another topic, I want to congratulate all of the Long Islanders who recently graduated from college, and those from around the country who earned degrees from our fine local institutions.

Graduates, you are now preparing to enter the real world. Brace yourselves. Unfortunately, graduation also means paying back student loans. And the rising cost of college tuition means many more students will be seeking student loans. It will take many graduates almost an entire lifetime to pay off their loans.

In July, the interest on student loans is set to double. For the sake of the future of our country, I urge our nation’s leaders to vote that bill down. We must have a long-term fix for the student loan process, or the American dream may be over for many young people before it even starts.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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