I don’t really mean to be facetious about this, but there exist several possibilities regarding the use of nerve gas in Syria:
- Most people think that Bashar al-Assad is responsible, and he might very well be
- Arrayed against Bashar and his Baathists are a lot of Al-Qaida baddies, who might well have gotten their hands on some Sarin from Chemical Ali’s stock of it in Iraq
- It could be that both sides are releasing nerve gas, which is not as outlandish as it may seem
Remember that George W. Bush had us going to war against Saddam in Iraq based on “weapons of mass destruction” that were never found. We cannot risk making assumptions that will lead to a massive loss of lives among Syrians or among our own armed forces.
Even if we are able to identify which side is employing nerve gas, I am reluctant about committing ourselves to bombing raids or, worse yet, “boots on the ground.” If we send in our bombers and Cruise Missiles, how do we know what targets to hit, considering that our military intelligence is god-awful or nonexistent. And do we want to set up another Green Zone, this time in Damascus or Homs or Aleppo, from which we cannot venture out without being blown to bits by roadside bombs?
And if we commit to either course, who stands to gain? Who stands to lose? Are we even asking ourselves these questions, or do we just assume that we’re still the world’s policeman after all these failed forays?