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September 5, 2013

WILLIAMS: Changing the game in Syria

Just about the time you think you have life down pat and you’ve refined your own moral code so that you know the answers to all the questions, along comes a situation like Syria.

In the beginning, I was totally opposed to the U.S. becoming involved in any but the most peripheral way. Partly that was based on not knowing the good guys from the bad guys when it seems that almost everyone involved is a bad guy and none of them is a particular friend to America.

“Let them figure it out for themselves,” I said, “America has poked its nose too much in Middle East affairs.”

And I meant it too ... until I saw the videos of all those dead kids wrapped in their shrouds, victims of chemical weapons on the part of their own government. (And, yes, we do know that the administration of Assad was responsible despite the conspiracy theories that abound on Facebook.)

And my earlier statements about it not being our problem made me think of Nazi Germany and dead Jews and Gypsies and gays, tortured and gassed and starved and killed, because the people then said, “it’s not our problem” – an attitude that resulted in millions of bodies stacked like cordwood or buried in mass graves.

There has always been war and probably always will be war as long as mankind survives but then there are events so horrific that they go even beyond the awfulness of war itself. Chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, genocide....

The industrialized nations banded together as early as 1925 in the Geneva Protocol to ban these terrible agents and it has been reaffirmed over the decades. As of 2013, 138 nations have agreed not to use them (including Syria). The collective countries resolved amongst themselves that biological and chemical weapons simply cannot be tolerated in a civilized world.

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