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Letters: America's moral dilemma on Syria

August 29, 2013
  • A Syrian opposition fighter guards a post in the northern city of Aleppo. President Bashar Assad warned this week that a U.S. attack against Syria would fail.
A Syrian opposition fighter guards a post in the northern city of Aleppo.… (AFP/Getty Images )

Re "Syria attack called 'moral obscenity,'" Aug. 27

When Secretary of State John F. Kerry described the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria as a "moral obscenity," did he think of George W. Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or maybe Vietnam? How can Kerry decide that weapons of mass destruction were used before the definitive evidence has been collected and analyzed?

And then, if it is proved, the next step is for Kerry or President Obama to explain the difference between using high explosives and chemical weapons. And is it only certain kinds of chemicals: Does white phosphorous used in the Gaza Strip and Afghanistan count?

I am tired of this moral hairsplitting. I understand that Obama's only tool is a hammer, which he should use to solve problems at home. Leave the international conflicts to the United Nations, which may take longer but can solve many problems with a collective moral compass.

John R. Shiban

Westlake Village

The shocking use of sarin gas on Syrian civilians, if proved conclusively to have been perpetrated by Bashar Assad's regime, demands a response as a deterrent to its future use.

Assad's unconscionable violation of the United Nations' ban on chemical weapons requires a destructive military answer. As in the successful intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, any military action taken against Syria should be a joint action of many nations.

Morrie Markoff

Los Angeles

It is difficult for most Americans to understand how religious groups hate one another so much that they would kill one another despite being of the same race and speaking the same language. Shiite Muslims killing Sunni Muslims would be like Roman Catholics killing Methodists or Baptists.

In Syria, Assad's Alawites do not want to give up power to the Sunnis or other non-Shiite groups. During the Civil War, Americans killed one another over slavery but not over religion or economic power.

It is hard for us to relate to the Mideast, but one thing is certain: This is not about democracy.

Lou Rosen

Pacific Palisades

I don't know what Kerry means when he condemns the use of chemical weapons on civilians as a "moral obscenity."

Does anybody in America know what he means? We have become so used to uncondemned moral obscenity that the term has almost no authority in indicating the wrongness of anything.

Ehrhardt Lang



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