Attack Syria? Unfortunately, Yes.

The Syrian civil war just went from bad to absolutely horrible. It is not enough that at least 100,000 people have been killed since the fighting began in March of 2011. It is not enough that roughly 2 million people are refugees or are internally displaced and half of them are children. Now we can add hundreds (if not thousands) of people being killed with some type of chemical weapon, more than likely by the Syrian government.

This is the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in today. Some might argue that while this situation is certainly horrible, that doesn’t make it one that the US needs to deal with. And being the good liberal that I am, I can certainly understand that position. While no one will accuse me of being a pacifist, I did oppose both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars even before they began. So I think that we need to think long and hard before we act militarily anywhere. Even when we risk very few American lives, I think it is important to weigh the consequences very carefully before we act with any kind of force.

So why am I now saying that we need to attack (yes, I said attack, because we can use any euphemism we like, but that is what we’re talking about here) Syria? To put it simply, there are certain actions that must not be allowed to stand, no matter who does them or where they happen. And the use of chemical weapons is one of those things. Others would be crimes against humanity such as genocide.

No country should have chemical, biological, or nuclear (CBN) weapons. In an ideal world, none of these would even exist. Of course, we don’t live in that fantasy world. So in the real world, those things exist and they exist in abundance. And try as we might to stop their proliferation (and we should certainly do that) we won’t be able to stop every country that wants to pursue those things. But what is much worse than simply possessing these types of weapons is the use of them. That is a line that must never be crossed. And if it is ever crossed, the punishments should be severe. Not only because the perpetrators need to be punished but because we need to send a very clear message to any and all other countries that actions like this are unacceptable.

It is widely accepted that killing people is wrong. It’s clear that it should be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary. And war is not a pleasant thing for anyone especially because those affected are likely not even doing the fighting. When it comes to CBN weapons, this is even truer. The risk of killing non-combatants increases exponentially when using CBN weapons. Guns and bombs can be unpredictable. But they are infinitely more predictable than CBN weapons.

The use of CBN weapons must never be allowed and much more than strongly worded condemnations must be the punishment when they are. So if the Syrian regime under Bashar Assad has used chemicals weapons in their ongoing civil war, we need to destroy not only those weapons but it seems necessary to kill him or capture and try him for crimes against humanity.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Syria will be a stable, peaceful place for some time to come, no matter what happens to Assad or his regime. But to let him continue with impunity would be much worse for Syria and the rest of the world.

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4 Responses to “Attack Syria? Unfortunately, Yes.”

  1. Do you really believe more violence will solve anything?

  2. Another thing that must be weighed is who are the freedom fighters now? Are they the same people that stood up against a regime they no longer wanted? or have they lost their stomach for fighting a war? or is it Al’Qaida and the Taliban who fought UN forces in Iraq and Afganistan trying to hold on to one more state to set up their own hardline Islamic state in which we would see even more genocide? It is a very sticky situation that does need to be dealt with before more innocent people are killed but again we, the USA, risk looking like the big bully on the block imposing our will on people half a world away.

    • Absolutely true. And that is why I have been really hesitant to say we should intervene up til now. I didn’t even think we should have armed the rebels because we really have no idea who these people are. And what is going to happen to those arms when the fighting with the government is over. It is a very difficult and tragic situation. I don’t know if attacking them (even in a limited way) will help but standing on the sidelines while thousands die seems like a really shitty place to be in.

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