On one hand, it seems to me legitimate to hit Assad and his military with punitive strikes for using nerve gas on his civilian population. Piously repeating “never again” and calling for Assad to be indicted is… Well, words fail me. On the other hand, if we’re just going to lob a few missiles in some effete State-department-esque “measured, proportional response,” it won’t do any good. It won’t eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons, and it won’t stop him using them again. Assad is a war criminal; his only chance to survive is to utterly crush the other side.
Syria is a fight to the death (between people who hate out guts, incidentally.) Whoever gets the upper hand will brutally massacre the losers and their families and all sides know it. With those stakes, what are we going to threaten anyone with, or what could we offer anyone? I guess the UN could establish a safe zone and guarantee the losing side won’t be massacred. (Here you must imagine hollow laughter.) The only military action that might do any good would be one that would cause President Obama’s strongest supporters to say “That was a bit much,” and make his political consultants look for a way to pin responsibility on the Republicans.
Not my circus; not my monkeys
Finally, it does seem like it’s someone else’s turn. All the US ever gets from the international community is derisive contempt. Let’s spare everyone another round of calls for Uncle Sam to go home, and more poorly thought-out homilies in favor of peace, no matter of what kind. If gassing civilians is a heinous violation of international law, let Spain deal with it. Why Spain? Well, why not? Or why not Germany, France, China, or Turkey – the former imperial power in Syria, though it’s not fashionable to point this out. Step up and deal with it; or shut up and let the Syrians deal with Syria.
So I’m open to new facts and reason, but for now I’m against US intervention in any form it’s possible for it to take. I hope congress votes against it, and President Obama reconsiders.
UPDATE 6 September 2013: There seems to be an implication that if the US doesn’t attack Syria there will be peace, as if there’s peace now. Besides weeping, and condemning the US for intervening (and watch, later it will be for not intervening), what is it that the people who want peace in Syria are prepared to do? Would they support having the UN declare Syria a gun-free zone? Maybe the Dutch should send monitors to implement a system of background checks for firearms purchases, if that wouldn’t be too imperialist or something. A lot of the opposition to US intervention doesn’t impress me at all, because the People of Peace oppose everything. It seems like the only thing they favor is for nobody to disturb the Syrians at their butchery.
UPDATE 7 September 2013: Of course people of good will are working hard for peace in Syria and everywhere else, and I shouldn’t belittle their effort. I need to remember that although men do have have responsibilities, and that although we sin by failing to do at least as often as by doing wrong, finally peace isn’t something we make, it’s something God gives us.