Musings —09.02.2013 08:02 PM—
If Syria’s regime is permitted to continue gassing its own citizens to death – and, rest assured, it did just that last week, killing hundreds of men, women and children – then George W. Bush and Tony Blair share some of the blame.
Already, the effects of Bush and Blair’s ill-advised war in Iraq are being seen. Western efforts to cobble together a military response to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad are falling part, in Britain and elsewhere – because of Bush and Blair’s disastrous quest for non-existent “weapons of mass distraction” in Iraq a decade ago.
Late in the week, Britain’s Conservative government was obliged to dilute a Parliamentary resolution authorizing military action against the Hitlerite Assad. Skittish Labour Party members – as well as Conservative MPs – now insist on United Nations approval first. That effectively means all that Assad will be facing, for the next while, is stern words.
The civilized world’s approach to the Syria crisis has devolved into tragedy and farce. When Assad can gas children to death with impunity – contrary to every known international law, contrary to whatever human decency is left – then all of us share in the blame.
Bush and Blair, as noted, can lay claim to a greater share. Their WMD misadventure has given too many faint-hearted legislators – on the Right as well as the Left – the excuse they need to delay and deny firm action.
The outcome will be more slaughter – more than 100,000 are believed to have been killed in Syria’s ongoing conflict – and, likely, more use of chemical weapons by an emboldened Assad.
Barack Obama may choose to go it alone, as Republican leaders in Congress have favoured military intervention in Syria for many months. If chooses discretion over valour, however, he runs the risk of reducing his international reputation to tatters. His fabled “red line” will be rendered a joke.
In order to remain human, the novelist Graham Greene once said, one must choose sides.
It is time to choose military intervention in Syria, as limited as possible. Barack Obama and David Cameron are right to push for it.
George W. Bush and Tony Blair were wrong to start a war over weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.
But it is manifestly worse to use Bush and Blair’s mistake to justify doing nothing now in Syria. Inaction in the face of such a calamity, per the truism, is complicity.