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Letters: Sarin gas and Syria

June 16, 2013
  • Syrian rebels are seen in Maarat Numan. The Obama administration announced last week it had reached the conclusion that the Syrian regime had used sarin gas on its people.
Syrian rebels are seen in Maarat Numan. The Obama administration announced… (Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP/Getty…)

Re "U.S. verifies Syria's use of sarin," June 14

Red line? Are you kidding? Why is it less moral for Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces to kill rebels and civilians by asphyxiating them using sarin gas than it is for them to blow off limbs or faces or send bullets into people's torsos?

The moral red line was crossed long ago; the sarin red line is about the politics associated with the risks of arming the enemies of our enemy and the risks of involvement in another Mideast war. The debate should always have been about this; instead, it's embroiled in a heated struggle to decide what, if anything, to do about the declared-to-be-crossed red line.

Jeffrey Schneider


President Obama's warning that use of chemical weapons in Syria would prompt a U.S. response smacks of another flavor-of-the-month "moral" reason for the U.S. to insert itself into other nations' business.

Certainly the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent. But so is just plain killing, raping women for the purpose of intimidation, economic discrimination and a host of other behaviors by self-serving governments. Why isn't the administration threatening intervention in every other country where there's a tragic situation?

Either the U.S. is becoming more involved in Syria to further bolster its military-industrial complex, or because the administration deludes itself into believing that we have some interest in the area. There really isn't any "moral" issue supporting our involvement.

Scott Flournoy



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