National Security

UN Concludes Syria Used Chemical Weapons, Still Manages to Attack America

“Above all, this incident shows how few good choices there are in a region because of Obama’s weakness and vacillation.”

The UN war crimes investigators concluded last week that Assad used sarin nerve gas over 20 times in the past four years, killing at least 83 civilians. The investigators also attacked the US for its supposedly reckless attacks on civilians, particularly an airstrike in Mosul that killed 83.

The latest gas attack by Syria occurred on April 4th of this year, which shows the ridiculousness of Obama’s red line and the supposed disarmament of Syria by Russia. This toothless investigation that doesn’t do anything about actual war crimes (while trying to condemn legal American actions) shows the folly of the UN and the double-sided nature of their critiques.

A rogue regime like Syria that commits war crimes and has a powerful ally in Russia can only be brought to trial by an equal or greater power. So the UN condemns Assad in Syria, yet they have no power to do anything about it. America does have the power to do something about it, yet in the same breath the UN report attacked America for using force to fight butchers and barbarians like ISIS.

This is an organization that is largely impotent except in myopic moral condemnation that can’t distinguish between a brutal dictator gassing dissidents and a democratic power fighting thugs and rapists while attempting to follow the rules of war.

The rules of war explicitly prohibit the use of human shields. Even before ISIS, and al-Qaeda, Saddam Hussein excelled in placing civilians in and around military targets. They also hid weapons in hospitals, schools, churches, and civilian neighborhoods. The US still has an obligation to use proportionality to try and minimize civilian casualties, but any civilian casualties are counted as a war crime against those using human shields or abusing neutral sites, not against the striking power.

But the rules of war have changed from common sense application of moral codes that apply in the heat of battle to excessively legalistic notions that nitpick to such a degree that basically any use of military force is condemned.

Above all, this incident shows how few good choices there are in a region because of Obama’s weakness and vacillation. During the early days of the civil war, there were significant moderate rebel factions, weaknesses in the Assad regime, and momentum from the Arab Spring and removal of Kaddafi in Libya. But years of doing nothing, red lines that weren’t enforced, and intervention by Russia resulted in millions of dead, displaced people, a wave of refugees, and war crimes by Assad.

This is an organization that is largely impotent except in myopic moral condemnation…

While the US is fighting ISIS, which entered the power vacuum in Syria and Iraq, the UN is reduced to issuing toothless reports that fail to address or even identify the problem in any meaningful way.

Morgan Deane

Morgan Deane is an OpsLens Contributor and a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry rifleman. Deane also served in the National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst. He is the author of the forthcoming book Decisive Battles in Chinese history, as well as Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon.

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