You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t in relation to intervention in Syria. I think the comparisons with Iraq are not exactly right. Iraq was not in civil war in 2003. Iraq did not have a civil war that was tearing itself apart on political and ethnic grounds. Saddam Hussein had not instigated a crackdown on dissent 2 years previously that has led to over 100,000 people dead and millions displaced. If anything by this stage if you wanted a comparison of the situation you would have to look at Bosnia and Rwanda. I’m kind of with Samantha Power on this, quoting from her book A Problem From Hell:
“Despite graphic media coverage, American policymakers, journalists and citizens are extremely slow to muster the imagination needed to reckon with evil. Ahead of the killings, they assume rational actors will not inflict seemingly gratuitous violence. They trust in good-faith negotiations and traditional diplomacy. Once the killings start, they assume that civilians who keep their head down will be left alone. They urge cease-fires and donate humanitarian aid…….States that murder and torment their own citizens target citizens elsewhere. Their appetites become insatiable.” What is the difference between guns and sarin? Both are weapons. Both are used to maim innocent people. For the supposed 1,400 people that the US says have been killed by sarin in Syria last month, there have been over 100,000 people murdered by bombs and bullets. Just because one weapon is considered more heinous than the other does not discard from the fact that this regime deliberately intends to murder and that there is no limit to how many their own people get in the way of achieving their goals. It has been a drip feed of murder. If 100,000 people were killed in a day at the start of this civil war by one bomb or like in Srebrenica over a week or Rwanda over four months, rounded up indiscriminately and shot or hacked to pieces we would not be sitting around doing nothing. So I think the international community (not just the US) should intervene. This has gone on too long, enough is enough.