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August 22nd, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Scores Killed in Syria, With Signs of Chemical War,” provides the gruesome details of a widespread chemical attack throughout the suburbs of Damascus.
The use of chemical weapons seems to be undeniable with victims twitching and rows of dead bodies without any sign of physical injury.
The President, who declared the use of chemical weapons a red line that cannot be crossed, is confronted once again by his own statement, and the need for the United States to be true to its word. Assuming the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Army is proven substantially, the President needs to follow up on his “red line” and vigorously support the rebels like we did in Libya.
Chemical weapons have been largely relegated to the history books with the last widespread use occurring during World War One. Only a united response by the international community will effectively prevent their spread again. Man’s inhumanity to man is a well known saying, and once the taboo of chemical weapons is broken, it may be very hard to go back.
The questions raised by the chemical attack are obvious ones. If it wasn’t the Syrian government, how could the rebels, without any known air power, disperse the weapons? Why didn’t the medics get sick after exposure to so many victims, something that does not seem to have occurred? And why weren’t some of the symptoms of chemical weaponry more widespread, such as vomiting, which only appears to have occurred in a few victims?
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