September 13, 2013

IT'S JUST A MATTER OF WHICH DAY WE INTERVENE:

When the best chance for peace means war (Sebastian Junger, September 13, 2013, Washington Post)

Every war I have ever covered -- Kosovo, Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Liberia -- withstood all diplomatic efforts to end it until Western military action finally forced a resolution. Even Afghanistan, where NATO troops stepped into a civil war that had been raging for a decade, is experiencing its lowest level of civilian casualties in more than a generation. That track record should force even peace advocates to consider that military action is required to bring some wars to an end.

And yet there's been little evidence of that sentiment in American opposition to missile strikes against military targets in Syria. Even after 1,400 Syrian civilians, including 400 children, were killed in a nerve gas attackthat was in all likelihood carried out by government forces, the prospect of American military intervention has been met with a combination of short-sighted isolationism and reflex pacifism -- though I cannot think of any moral definition of "antiwar" that includes simply ignoring the slaughter of civilians overseas.

Of course, even the most ardent pacifist can't deny that the credible threat of U.S. force is what made the Syrian regime at all receptive to a Russian proposal that it relinquish control of its stockpiles of nerve agents. If the deal falls apart or proves to be a stalling tactic, military strikes, or at least the threat of them, will again be needed.
Posted by at September 13, 2013 6:26 PM
  
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