REFLECTIONS

Posted on May 1, 2013

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U.S. MUST WAIT TO REMOVE al-ASSAD

As frustrating as it is, the United States must wait until a coalition of nations decide to intervene in Syria and remove President Bazhar al-Assad.

Israel, France and England report that al-Assad has used chemical weapons and  sarin-gas in an attack at least once.

More than other tools of war, chemical weapons are indiscriminate in what they strike. Poisonous gases can float anywhere. They can wipe out entire populations of civilians either by design or a change of wind. Even the weapon’s users might be hit.

The al-Assad government has killed over 80,000 of its own citizens and displaced millions more in the two and one-half civil war which seems to escalate, and to bring down the Syrian regime would seem likely to  bring more Middle East mayhem.

As the United States and other nations debate their next steps in Syria, the protection of the innocent from an indiscriminate weapon should be the guiding principle.

Mr. Obama and others must consider if outside intervention would cause even more use of chemical weapons? Would a foreign invasion lead to high civilian casualties? Can an over-indebted and war-weary Europe or U.S. afford to act?

Respect for innocent life lies at the heart of most rules of war. Knowing the principle at stake in the use of chemical warfare should help world leaders make the right decision on Syria.

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