As the Obama administration considers lobbing a few missiles at Syria to punish the Syrian regime (which we used to call the "Syrian government," or just "Syria") for allegedly using chemical weapons on its citizens, the New York Times this week posted a graphic (which we used to call "gory") video showing rebel soldiers executing seven Syrian soldiers. The video, which turned out to be not fresh news but 17 months old, sparked an argument that if the rebels are this brutal, then we shouldn't be supporting them by lobbing bombs at the government.
Two days ago Secretary of State John Kerry explained to MSNBC why the video should not deter our government from attacking Syria from a safe distance. I noted this quotation particularly:
I guarantee you if we turn our backs today, the picture we all saw in the paper today and the media of those people shot, that will take place more because more extremists will be attracted to this, because they will be funded as the only alternative in order to take on Assad.
Here is my translation of Secretary Kerry's statement:
If we do not kill some Syrian soldiers and nearby civilians with safe and effective American missiles in the hope that the Damascus PTA will take over running Syria, we will see more pictures and videos of Syrian rebels killing the same Syrian soldiers and nearby civilians that our missiles would kill more efficiently. If we do kill some Syrians with our missiles, their survivors will applaud our willingness to intervene in their domestic conflict and will become our friends when the war ends.
This is not striking me as a good reason to get involved in a war. I know the government is saying that we are not getting into a war with Syria, but I also know that our recent history suggests that, as with the famous brand of potato chips, we don't often stop with just one.