[quote]Kristof has been called one of the great moralists of his generation. This short piece encapsulates the angles of possible U.S. intervention very well.
1. My ass - called one of the "great moralists" by whom?
2. His entire argument is couched in what "may" and "might" result if the US doesn't join. It "may" also make the situation worse. It "might" also lead to further genocide as they government becomes more desperate and realizes it has nothing to lose.
3. "It’s all very well to urge the United Nations and Arab League to do more, but that means that Syrians will continue to be killed at a rate of 5,000 every month."
The international community is opposed to taking action - not just Russia and China (Syria's allies). What Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated is that US intervention without a long-term plan result in long-term engagements with no real way out. The US cannot and should not become the lone worldwide policeman.
4. It's not always about oil. Sometimes, it's the military-industrial complex needing another war to fund profits. Companies like Haliburton or defense contractors make a bundle - cruise missiles are not cheap with EACH costing $1.4 million.
5.“What are the risks of cruise missile strikes on Syria?” I grant that those risks are considerable, from errant missiles to Hezbollah retaliation. It’s this: “Are the risks greater if we launch missiles, or if we continue to sit on our hands?”
There are not guarantees that launching missile strikes will yield any result. Clearly, other countries don't see a high probability of success.
6. "In Syria, it seems to me that cruise missile strikes might make a modest difference, by deterring further deployment of chemical weapons. Sarin nerve gas is of such limited usefulness to the Syrian army that it has taken two years to use it in a major way, and it’s plausible that we can deter Syria’s generals from employing it again if the price is high."
Funny how something of such "limited usefulness" was deployed which also happens to be the single line in the sand which had been drawn. After having been mislead about Iraq, it seems like we shouldn't take any evidence on faith. Except for super secret, classified intelligence which we are not allowed to see, there is no evidence about which side deployed sarin. Do I think it's also possible that the forces opposing the government might have thrown a hail Mary desperation play or might Al Qaeda or some other group done it for their own purposes, sure. It's just terribly convenient that now, two years later, someone decided to cross that bright line in the sand - actually it makes least sense for the Syrian government to have done the one thing to draw international intervention. No one side has a monopoly on disgusting humanitarian atrocities and our history on understanding the players and their motives in that particular region of the world has not been good. Can't you also hear the rebel meeting where they think that the killing people by the sarin make them martyrs for the cause? The point being that all we "know" is that someone used sarin, not who.