The issue here is a simple moral one concerning first, violence, and second, interventionism. I’ll appeal to the second Iraq war for reference. While the west ought to evaluate its position regarding international intervention before it can unhypocritically appoint itself the ethical watchdog of the developing world, it is not difficult to imagine what would have happened had anti-war campaigners been listened to in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milošević, and their motley crews of genocidal mafia bosses would have succeeded in their attempts to systematically exterminate the Kurds, the Bosniaks, and other peoples, and may perhaps have left even more of a blight on the landscape than Hussein managed in destroying the wetlands, and lighting the oil fields. I daresay a change of heart was not forthcoming from those regimes.
‘I hope I am not alone in feeling good about genocidal maniacs being captured and put on trial.’
The onus, the guilt, of non-intervention would have been on the west’s shoulders. That the Bush and Blair governments’ interventions were deeply flawed from the get-go is a corollary for which they cannot apologise enough, and ought to be harshly punished, but it is a corollary nonetheless. I hope I am not alone in feeling good about genocidal maniacs being captured and put on trial.
What we see in the al-Assad regime is another dictatorship with a genocidal madman at its helm who is attempting to destroy the Sunni population. Indeed, the UN’s genocide convention not only encourages, but demands intervention and reprisal by participating nation states, because, lest we forget, the attempted extermination of peoples is not by any means beyond certain groups of very evil people. The last century has seen the attempted genocides of the Jews, the Rwandan Tutsis, and the Bosnian Muslims, to name but three. My only hopes are that intervention by civilised governments not only fails to result in war crimes this time around, but leads to a confrontation of the KGB in the Kremlin, whose money certainly appeared to fund al-Assad’s illegal chemical attack of the fourth, only the latest in a series of government-approved incursions on democracy and international law which Putin refuses to condemn.
‘the strikes trump ordered on the syrian airfield killed seven soldiers and nine civilians.’
Unfortunately for advocates of peace, which includes me whenever possible, there is something profoundly non-negotiable-with about a regime which attempts and delights in the total elimination of a people. Hitler for example, couldn’t have been talked down; for him it was a binary of no more Jews, or death.
If Syrian reports are to be believed, then the strikes Trump ordered on the Syrian airfield that the Sarin attacks were traced to by US intelligence killed seven soldiers and nine civilians, including four children. Regardless, rebel forces approved of the attack, and encouraged further action according to the Guardian, who quoted Mohamed Alloush, who wrote that ‘hitting one airbase is not enough.’ In an ideal world, violent intervention would not be necessary, and one can still hope that deaths of non combatants can be limited as much as possible. However, we do not live in an ideal world, and I’m willing to stand in advocacy of fighting al-Assad’s regime and any like it, all the way.