Skip to main content

Inaction in Syria is Unconscionable


There are those events in history that define real evil, they stain our conscience long after they've past, Bosnia, Rwanda, Halabja, and now, Syria.

To all but the most committed conspiracy theorists, Assad is guilty. Activists from the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) reported two separate attacks involving the use of chemical weapons in the Eastern Ghouta region. Independently, the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations also received reports of two separate incidents and we know from both the Syria Civil Defence and the Syrian American Medical Society that those hundreds exposed to the attack were brought to medical facilities where they showed symptoms consistent with exposure to a chemical agent. 

That in addition to the blood and urine samples, there's hardly any room for serious doubt over what happened, large compressed gas cylinders were used in the attack, of the same type used in previous aerial raids. Aircraft spotters reported Mi-8 Hip helicopters in the area during the time of the incident and these fit comfortably in the scale of depravity Assad is known for. This is the eighth time he's used chemical weapons, this year alone.

Syrian opposition doesn't operate either aircraft or barrel bombs and to my non-surprise, Assad's efforts directly benefit from the attackMilitary gains are slow and Assad has been fighting in the region since February, but now days after the incident Douma is under full Assad control.

If nothing else, one thing is clear from this attack; there is no moral distinction between Assad and ISIS both kill innocent people for political gain. No long term plan for Syria should involve settling for either of them and the strike from the US, UK and France can't be allowed to substitute for an actual plan in Syria, bombing without an end game will only destabilize the country. 

What options are there? Labour calls for a "full investigation" into the attack, that sounds fair enough but when Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack happened last year, their response was the same. When the UN reported unambiguously it was met predictably with silence. 

Purely diplomatic efforts aren't going to work either, though a great way to virtue signal, we've had round-after-round of talks at the Geneva convention, three special envoys from the UN and all undermined by Russia's veto. What needs to happen is a set of unilateral sanctions on Syria's budding cohorts, that means Russian money and property in London. 

Alongside that, military action is necessary. The Syrian Negotiation Comission has proposed that we respond to every attack on civilians by taking out Syrian air bases, so far as I can see, that's the best option.

The proposal by some, that we sit back with inaction and allow Assad to kill in peace as he racks up a death toll of 500,000 is unconscionable. If we do nothing, we send the message to every would-be psychopath, that WMDs can be used with impunity. I'm not willing to say to the next generation of Syrians "I'm sorry, we knew what Assad was doing, we knew there was a problem in Syria but we ducked the difficult decision and we chose to do nothing about it."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Set Theory

This post is a very brief introduction to some of the basic concepts of set theory. Set theory is a branch of mathematical-logic, that has wide applications across disciplines. Its not just used in the obvious way of studying the foundations of mathematics by mathematicians but also in physics, social science, and even by philosophers as a theory of semantics for predicate logic (although you can do propositional logic without set theory).

A set is a collection of elements, or members; the notation for a set is specified by listing its components. So the set of even numbers can be represented a
$E: \left \{ 2,4,6,8 ... \right \}$$E: \left \{ x: x > 0 \wedge  even\right \}$ Either of these notations is valid. Further, elements of a set can only be in that set, once. So   $E: \left \{ 2,2,2,4,4,6,8 ... \right \} = E: \left \{ 2,4,6,8 ... \right \}$ The notation used to indicate that something is an element of a set, is using the Greek symbol "epsilon". That is: $4 \epsilon S$…

William Lane Craig and the Hartle-Hawking No Boundary Proposal

Classical standard hot Big Bang cosmology represents the universe as beginning from a singular dense point, with no prior description or explanation of classical spacetime. Quantum cosmology is different in that it replaces the initial singularity with a description in accord with some law the "quantum mechanical wave function of the universe", different approaches to quantum cosmology differ in their appeal either to describe the origin of the material content of the universe e.g., Tyron 1973, Linde 1983a, Krauss 2012 or the origin of spacetime itself e.g., Vilenkin 1982, Linde 1983b, Hartle-Hawking 1983, Vilenkin 1984.

These last few proposals by Vilenkin, Hartle-Hawking and others are solutions to the Wheeler-DeWitt equation and exist in a category of proposals called "quantum gravity cosmologies" which make cosmic applications of an approach to quantum gravity called "closed dynamic triangulation" or CDT (also known as Euclidean quantum gravity). I&#…

Can inflation be eternal into the past?

Back in 2003 a paper appeared on the arXiv titled "Inflationary spacetimes are not past complete" that was published by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin which has had considerable amounts of attention online. The theorem is rather uninteresting but simple and doesn't require a very complicated understanding of math. So I thought I'd explain the result here.

It's purpose is to demonstrate that inflationary models are geodesically incomplete into the past which they take as "synonymous to a beginning" but Vilenkin stresses that the theorem can be extended to non inflationary models so long as the condition of the theorem that the average rate of expansion is never below zero is met. These models too then are incomplete into the past. Consider the metric for an FRW universe with an exponential expansion


Where the scale factor is


Since the eternal inflation model is a "steady state cosmology" the mass density and the Hubble paramet…