We should think it through
• The Obama administration is paying the price for the credibility disaster that was/is Iraq. Yes, we forget things very quickly and very easily these days, but even short-spanned Americans remember without too much effort the horrific slew of lies and misinformation thrown at us by Darth, Condi, Rummy and Dubya, and the gigantic mess resulting from “intelligence fixed around policy.” After Iraq, there is now some serious skepticism out here among us great unwashed. And you know what? It's always healthy to remember our government has no problem lying to us when lying will serve a purpose.
• Why would Assad use chemical weapons at this time? He had to know that this news would do exactly what it did—put him on the global front page. His troops have killed at least 100,000 Syrians using “proper and approved” weapons—bombs, bullets, etc. (which leads to the strange reality of “blow his head off with a mortar? Fine. Gas him? You villainous bastard! Have you no decency?”) So why break out the Sarin now? It seems not just curious, but braindead.
Maybe once, just once, we should act not like drunken yahoos at a tequila-soaked tailgate party, but like a sober, thoughtful nation, and follow the advice of UN Inspector Hans Blix, who counsels us to “wait for the UN report on this incident.” I'm just fine with that. What's the rush? An air strike in October will be just as nifty as one in September.
• When we pitch a hissy about a guy using “wrong” weapons to kill his rebels and troublemakers, I squirm. Sure, using gas to kill a thousand people, many of them innocent bystanders, is horrific and vile. But it was only 10 years ago that we stormed into a country and proceeded to maim, mangle and murder hundreds of thousands of people, all in pursuit of some paranoid delusion about WMD that existed, as it turned out, only in the grim, garbled mind of our then vice president. In light of that stupendous blunder, do we have any credibility whatsoever left in the tank when it comes to accusing Middle Eastern leaders of possessing chemical weapons?
So again, how about we wait for the UN report? It would be refreshing if we erred on the side of caution on occasion.
• Another reason our righteous indignation makes me squirm—Fallujah, Iraq. 2004. Remember when our troops were pounding away at this important city? It's now well documented that our soldiers were using a satanic weapon called white phosphorous. This is not nice stuff. Imagine a goop that burns your skin down to the bone. Our troops rained this white chemical fire upon Fallujah and, in the process, melted hundreds of women and children. Unaware of this incident? Gee, wonder why! (There's an Italian documentary on this called Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre.)
That makes it ironically bizarre to hear us now waxing all indignant about Assad and his bad gas.