On Syria, pt. III

If you couldn’t tell in my last two posts on Syria, I oppose intervention. I do so for the following reasons:

– Intervention would be at least as much for strategic reasons as for humanitarian ones. Insofar as that is the case, the debate has not reflected it. Any conversation needs to include all of our motives. For example, despite having explained earlier that potential US intervention would be leveled in a calculated way so as to not influence the outcome of the war (White House: “this is not about regime change” here), now we’re finding out the CIA is training Syrian rebels (here).

– I am opposed to the championing of this ethical decision in the face of other situations that are equally inhumane and tragic. (See my previous two posts.) Not to mention, the country screaming the loudest about the chemical attack is especially interested in drawing a firm line between “acceptable killing” and “unacceptable killing” (see our drone program). The case is being made that it’s not just the number of deaths that is most compelling, it’s their nature. It’s like having an ethical category of “worse bad.” Tons of people were killed. That’s horrific. But it’s hard to make the case that its worse than equal numbers being killed in a different fashion. The issue is that they were killed! Innocent non-combatants!

– I am opposed to military intervention almost all of the time, particularly without considerable international consensus or support.

– Lastly, I can’t see it actually working. That is, I can’t see a military strike as a slap on the wrist effectively deterring a well-connected and supported (Russia, Iran, etc.) leader (especially if he is as villainous as we’ve been told) from doing this again.


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