Opinion: Time Lost Means Lives Lost in Syria

Poisonous chemical weapons used in Syria? Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Mr James Brabenec (IMCOM)

Poisonous chemical weapons used in Syria? Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Mr James Brabenec (IMCOM)

It wasn’t long ago that the world was outraged by the horrific videos of Syrian men, women and children dying from poison gas. France, England and then the United States were appalled that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on their own people. But rather than act then, they talked to try and get more support. Now they might not receive support anyway.

If nothing is done in Syria, more will die. It’s tragic that a failure to act quickly then has led to potentially doing nothing now. As a result, expect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to learn one key lesson: He can do whatever he wants and get away with it. And he will.

Initially, it appeared that Assad had misjudged the world’s attitude toward Syria. After 100,000 were killed and Assad had fired scud missiles at his own people—and even used small doses of chemical weapons—he decided to launch a real chemical attack. And he had the gall to do it while United Nations investigators were in Syria—looking at allegations of chemical weapons use.

It seemed Assad had lost his mind, especially when it looked certain that the West would blitz Syria in response to the attack. And yet, it seems instead that Assad was absolutely correct: the cash-strapped and war-weary West doesn’t care enough to intervene.

So guess what Syria will do now? If Assad dared use chemical weapons in the assumption the West wouldn’t retaliate, now he almost certainly would use them over and over if the West does nothing.

It’s his best weapon, really. The rebels have no defenses against poison gas. No missile defense systems and a lack of gas masks and chemical hazard suits means that Assad has a virtual guarantee of success every time he uses the weapon of mass destruction.

How many thousands are now at risk? Will not Assad use his newfound super-weapon on every rebel stronghold?

Tens of thousands could die horrible, ghastly deaths. And the rebels will lose. And Assad will prove that the only way for dictators to survive is to build up weapons of mass destruction—and use them when necessary.

Will not Iran continue or even speed-up their nuclear program to acquire those weapons? Will not North Korea continue their work on developing a missile system to actually launch a nuclear device?

It’s telling that media reports and opinion articles indicate that the two nations most threatened by Syria—Israel and Turkey—are the most troubled that the United States may do nothing. They know that Assad will learn he can act with impunity, and so will other rogue nations.

It’s incredible that President Barack Obama would delay to wait on Congress now, after he authorized a greater strike on Libya without such Congressional approval.

Despite that mistake of leadership, the United States’ Congress must bail him out and act, and they must act soon.

This week, Congress will start a new session. The time for talking, hemming and hawing, is over. It’s time for action. If they don’t act, many more will die.

And the very West that pretended Syria meant nothing to them will find that other world dictators will be building weapons to attack them. Preventing future tragedies in Washington D.C., Paris, London and Berlin depends on the governments in those cities responding to the recent tragedy in Damascus.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 7, 2013)

What do you think?