I’m glad President Obama is seeking approval from Congress before taking military action in Syria, but I’m sorry he’s declining to bind himself to their decision.
The use of chemical weapons, any weapons of war, against innocent civilians is a crime against humanity. A dead child is dead whatever weapon killed her. We’re too late to help her, or the hundred thousand other innocents already killed in this conflict, or the millions of war dead just since the turn of the new century. What we can do to help the living and maybe save some future victims is to support and strengthen institutions seeking peace under international law, not to undermine them.
No serious military or diplomatic aims will be served by the President’s proposed limited missile strikes. They won’t actually punish the perpetrators of these crimes, who haven’t even been identified with certainty. They won’t bring down the Assad regime, or force the negotiated peace which is the best hope for the victims of this war. They won’t stop another use of chemical weapons. And when they’re used again, do we send more missiles, bigger missiles, war planes, troops? The only sure outcome is more “collateral damage” (read “dead civilians”), a wider war, and one more confirmation for those who believe that the U.S. military machine is the world’s most dangerous threat to peace.
Oh, and it relieves any embarrassment to which President Obama might be subjected for drawing a red line that he had no authority to draw in the first place.
If the problem is innocent dead, the solution is not, will never be, more bombs.