“The ban on chemical weapons, in other words, is proof that humanity can make war a little more decent. Consequently, its continued success is vital to all future efforts to make war a little more decent. There is a kind of beauty in that, but much less so when you recall the 100,000 Syrians killed by nonchemical weapons.
The U.S. is now debating a military campaign that marries the highest, most abstract idealism to the harshest, most unsettling pragmatism: Obama wants to punish Assad for violating the abstract norms of war even as he leaves Assad capable of continuing his massacre by more conventional means.
This is why there is no enthusiasm for intervening in Syria: Making the decision to punish Assad for using chemical weapons means explicitly making the decision not to stop him when he slaughters with conventional weapons. The brutality of what we are willing to accept tarnishes the better world we seek to preserve.”
The brutality of what we are willing to accept tarnishes the better world we seek to preserve.