Who can stand by while innocent women and children are being gassed and burnt in chemical weapon attacks? That, according to President Barack Obama, is the question we must ask ourselves as videos of the victims of a Syrian civil war are paraded through the media.
To be sure, the president has a point. Can anyone with a conscience allow this to continue if they can do something to at least try and deter future attacks?
The problem with this moral stance is that the U.S. has a blemished record of allowing such atrocities to occur in countries that it is friends with, or that it just doesn't want to tangle with. Its own bombers dropped napalm on Vietnamese villages, killing innocent children during the Vietnam war.
While chemical weapons may not be the weapon of destruction in North Korea, thousands of innocent children are kept as prisoners and die in camps reminiscent of Germany in the Second World War.
The United Nations, shackled by its Security Council structure, which allows Russia to veto action, is impotent in the face of such killing. So, the U.S. claims its role as a superpower cop.
Local politicians, on the left, do not support the U.S. stepping in with missiles aimed at punishing the Syrian leadership for killing its own innocent civilians. They call for a debate in Parliament on the whole question of Syria, and many, such as MP Kennedy Stewart, see the issue as much more complicated and broader. On a local humanitarian level, MP Peter Julian sees immigrant families who are worried about their relatives in Syria - or new immigrants who want to get their relatives out of the quagmire. He also hopes that Canada will pitch in with more humanitarian aid as the countries refugees languish in camps that are appalling. But, so far, the Canadian voices who might support military action by the U.S. are strangely silent.
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