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

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&#…

How Should Thatcherites Remember the '80s?

Every now and again, when I talk to people about the '80s I'm told that it was a time of unhinged selfishness, that somehow or other we learned the price of everything but the value of nothing. I can just remember that infamous line from Billy Elliot; 'Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher. We all celebrate today because its one day closer to your death'. If it reflected the general mood of the time, one might wonder how it is she won, not one but three elections.

In an era when a woman couldn't be Prime Minister and a working-class radical would never lead the Conservative party, Thatcher was both and her launch into power was almost accidental owing in part to Manchester liberals and the Winter of Discontent. Yet I'm convinced her election victory in '79 was the only one that ever truly mattered. Simply consider the calamity of what preceded it, the 1970s was a decade of double-digit inflation, power cuts, mass strikes, price and income controls, and the three…

Creation Of Universes from Nothing

The above paper "Creation of Universes from Nothing" was published in 1982, which was subsequently followed up in 1984 by a paper titled "Quantum Creation of Universes". I decided it would be a good idea to talk about these proposals, since last time I talked about the Hartle-Hawking model which was, as it turns out, inspired by the above work. 
Alexander Vilenkin also explains in a non-technical way the essential idea in his book; Many World's in One – one of the best books I've ever read – it mostly covers cosmic inflationary theory but the 17th chapter covers how inflation may have begun. In fact Vilenkin is one of the main preponderant who helped develop inflation along with Steinhardt, Guth, Hawking, Starobinsky, Linde and others. 
Although I won't talk about it here, Vilenkin also discovered a way of doing cosmology by using something called "topological defects" and he has been known for work he's done on cosmic strings, too.
In ex…