Posts Tagged: Nerve Gas

Aug 13

The Lesser of Evils. Yes. So?

There are no good choices with Syria. Doing nothing and letting them sort it out was just bearable until we saw rows of children who’d died a horrible, painful death through Sarin nerve gas.

I am satisfied that Assad’s regime is behind the nerve gas attacks. Death from nerve gas is not particularly quick. It is terrifying, agonizing. If you survive the nerve gas it changes your DNA. It affects every corner of your being forever. It will affect children you may have…Nerve gas is the most indiscriminate of killers in war, apart from, perhaps, the hydrogen bomb. It is, yes, significantly worse than missiles. It has been forbidden by international treaty for half a century. If we permit it to be used again, with impunity, others will get in line to use it. If we do just enough–take out some artillery emplacements, aircraft, and so on–to give the rebels the edge, they stand a good chance of overthrowing Assad. It is not true that the rebels are “a bunch of al Qaeda operatives”. There are thought to be some Jihadists among them. They have factions. It may be that if the rebels win, Syria becomes a hardline Muslim state and that’s bad. But it’s not as bad as allowing the torture and the slaughter–the latter through executions, mass murders, the shelling of civilian areas, and now the use of nerve gas against civilians, and children–to go on. One million Syrian children have fled the country–were the war over, they could return home. The resultant nation would not be ideal–but it would be at peace…

The USA’s minor, selective, pinpoint military involvement in the Syrian conflict is *not* engaging in war. It may be technically engaging in “warfare”. That is not war. War is gigantic, war is a juggernaut. Make no mistake. War is its own special condition. Our engagement in Iraq was war. This will not be us making war. It will be militarily minor. No Americans will be harmed and no civilians targeted.

Is it merely “the lesser of evils?” Yes. So? Who wishes to vote for the greater of evils?

Aug 13

The United States, Syrian govt use of Nerve Gas…and our Options

This morning it became clear that the President is seriously thinking of militarily intervening in Syria–because it’s now coming clear that men, women and children are being killed by Sarin nerve gas there. One key remark he made (paraphrasing here) is that “It is a threat to the security of the USA when people are using nerve gas anywhere.”… People talk as if Egypt, Syria, the middle east in general, is all part of the USA. “Why doesn’t the President do something more about Egypt?” Egypt is not Missouri or Oregon. It is a foreign country so he can only do so much. And he can only do so much about Syria…But there were hints in his remarks today that *if the UN approves* he’s going to intervene in some way. …President Clinton said that his own greatest policy mistake in office was not doing anything about Rwanda when it was clear that genocide was taking place there. He regrets it… But these aren’t American states–so why do we have to take responsibility? Because we can. And because no one else is doing so, in any major way. Re Egypt, our military intervention doesn’t make sense; I suspect the Pres will suspend military aid to the present govt there… Re Syria, there’s no other way–military intervention is the only course of conscience…If the President intervenes, many on the left and some on the right (like Rand Paul) may object. “Warmonger!” If he doesn’t intervene militarily, many other people of all camps may be horrified with the consequences and howl, “Why didn’t he intervene?” He has just said that international law prevents military intervention by the USA *unless the UN votes to allow it*. If they do, I think he’ll use pinpoint military intervention: a No fly zone, carefully placed missiles–*perhaps* the use of special forces in some small operations *if* he can reliably locate the whereabouts of Assad. I think that, with UN backing, simply taking out Assad and his closest backers… this man who’s ordered the use of Sarin nerve gas on civilians…is appropriate.