Syria and the use of chemical weapons is one of the most difficult decisions President Barack Obama has had to face. What do you do? The international ban has been in place for 88 years now. Do you act arbitrarily, or do you wait for UN cooperation? Will Assad strike again? On this, I say the answer is no. If he does, then international response is guaranteed. Assad must know by now that he has been found out, and caught red-handed using a weapon that has been banned since the end of World War 1. Remember, they didn't even (generally) use chemical weapons in the Second World War, although the gassing of Jews in concentration camps could be considered as such. And the people responsible for that were held liable for their actions at the Nuremburg Trials...most were hanged. This is a serious business, but I think that as tough as it is right now for those people in Syria, the US must wait for UN action before proceeding. In war crimes actions, this has been the norm, more or less. Not arbitrary action, but international. The US has not been guilt-free either, concerning international accords in general. EXAMPLE: The United States has already executed 14 foreign nationals from 11 different countries. We have about another 82 on Death Row. These actions are strictly against the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations - an agreement we signed long ago. The International Court of Justice has found AGAINST the United States on numerous occasions for these actions. So for the United States to take arbitrary action against the Syrian government based on violations of international accords...well, it's a bit two-faced in my opinion. You can't break the rules here, and then expect others to obey the rules THERE because you say so. It goes to the old saying about living in glass houses and throwing stones. My heart goes out to all the innocent victims of the chemical attack in Damascus, especially the 400+ children who were killed. But looking at the situation, this is one that must be addressed internationally, not just by the United States going it alone.
(Robert Blevins is from Seattle.)