Contra my previous post, I don't think we're going to be bombing Syria.
The Elusive Wapiti makes a good point. Why is a murky, unattributed chemical attack so particularly egregious? Which is worse, gassing rebels or sawing off the heads of POWs with a dull bayonet?
From the comments:
There are no international norms for how to fight non-nation state forces. You literally can shoot them for sport.
Also, the whole point of establishing those norms was to encourage similar treatment for your own soldiers when they are captured. Since the rebels show no restraint, the gloves come off. THAT is the international norm for all of recorded history.
Does anybody seriously doubt that the US military would vaporize the entire neighborhoods of any organized group trying to secede, much less trying to overthrow the government? Men, women, children and their parakeets would all go up in a pink mist.
War has become a bizarre thing these days. The US and other powerful nation-states have wisely stepped down from war with each other, but since we still have this Second Generation military lying around, we occupy ourselves with wars against other countries' executive branch members who happen to rub our executive branch members the wrong way.
The commenter above, Iraq war vet and Pentagon bureaucrat Professor Hale has a cogent summary, for anybody who thought we were still talking about upholding "international law" or "norms" or "standards" at this point:
1. Syria is a sovereign nation. That means they don’t answer to any higher authority. They can do whatever they want to their own people.
2. The UN is not a higher authority. Syria doesn’t need their permission to gas their own people. We don’t need the UN to approve us bombing them anyway. The UN has no authority over anyone.
3. The Geneva and Hague Conventions are “agreements”, not LAWS. They cannot be enforced because there is no higher authority that can enforce them. Thus, any nation is free to violate them anytime it wishes, any way it wishes and there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it other than using force to make them stop. And we could have done that anyway. So, there is no “law” against using chemical weapons. Just an agreement to not use them in war. Despite having that agreement, most of the civilized nations of the world maintained their own stockpiles of them. We certainly did. We finally got rid of them because they stopped being useful to US.
4. We don’t know with certainty that chemical weapons were used, or if they were, who did the using. It is very common for Islamic forces to murder their own people to gain a political advantage...
There is no legal basis for war against Syria. If President Cornball nevertheless insists that blowing up Syrians is still on the table, then he needs to show how this would advance the interests of the American people. Of course, for the Left this is the very thing that augurs in favor--a truly just war, justified by its very selflessness! It won't advance a single American interest!
On that last note, Steve Sailer has a wonderful essay at Taki's on the curse of American exceptionalism*:
I’ve found most talk about “American exceptionalism” pernicious because it tends to imply that America needs to be exceptional to deserve what other countries rightfully take for granted.
America is definitely exceptional in our recommended daily intake of flapdoodle. To Finns or Japanese or other sensible folk, their countries don’t have to be special proposition nations, nor cities upon a hill redeeming the world, nor the rightful destinations of other countries’ huddled masses, nor the scourges of wrongdoing in the Levant. Instead, they are the past, present, and future homes of their own people. So their responsibility is to be good stewards for their heirs.
In contrast, the vague grandiosity of the ideology of American exceptionalism makes Americans easier to manipulate with contrived narratives.
(* - If you've blurred all the way through this post without bothering, please click that link, and read the last paragraph.)