We need a redline on beheadings

John Kerry calls the Syrian goverment's chemical weapons attack on its own people a "moral obscenity."

What does he call the rebels' actions when they force a child to behead a Syrian civilian? If we're going to threaten a redline over chemical weapons, why not have one for beheadings?

There are "moral obscenities" breaking out all over the world. If we tried to do something about all of them, we'd never have peace. This particular "moral obscenity" has to be seen in the context of a civil war in which we shouldn't be backing either side - that the eventual outcome doesn't favor us in any case, and our intervention may open the door to a wider war that would be nasty, messy, and counter to our interests.

Max Hastings:

Don't you see the moral imperative?' one of Cameron's closest advisers demanded angrily of a sceptical soldier a few months ago.

Unfortunately, for the cause of justice and truth, loose talk about morality is a luxury grown-up governments cannot often afford to indulge.

What matters is what can be done realistically in Syria, a colossal mess in which there is little to choose for nastiness between the competing factions.

'They're all nutters,' said one of the Government's most sensible ministers -- and a profound sceptic about intervention -- at a recent National Security Council meeting.

The West faces the huge and probably insoluble problem that President Assad is the client and protege of Russia. 

As long as Putin remains committed to protecting the Syrian leader, it is hard to see how the West can take effective military action.

Syria poses the same dilemma as does North Korea, under China's guardianship.

Yes, these are monstrous regimes -- the North Korean leadership has killed vastly larger numbers of its own people than Assad -- but short of going to war with Russia or China, what can the West do?

The short answer is, "not act stupidly":



Firing purposely ineffectual missiles into Syria to send a message may or may not be immoral (a good nihilist doesn't believe in morality) but it indisputably stupid. If Fisher is right, the administration's military actions are being designed to be intentionally useless, crafted to do nothing significant. Thus they have a huge downside without the slightest upside. Does this make sense? It does in a world where logic is not required and the Narrative rules all, then it may make sense.
But Obama is trapped in maze of his own making and he's too vain to even admit that he's lost.
We are preparing to launch cruise missiles and perhaps drop a few bombs that won't be a decisive blow for anyone, and will serve only to "warn" Assad against the use of chemical weapons. And we risk widening the war and perhaps inviting Iran and Hezb'allah to retaliate against us and Israel.

Not crazy or stupid. It's crazy stupid.
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