Confusion About Syria

The latest news is spreading shockwaves through Israel.   People have lined up in record numbers to acquire gas masks.    The government is forecasting shortages while the army is happy the public is finally taking it seriously.   My own children are encouraging us to get ours and stock up our bomb shelter with basic necessities.  This is all in response to threats the U.S., British and French are preparing to attack the Syrian stronghold of Bashar Assad’s government center.   

From the public’s view it’s all about a few alleged attacks on rebels and collaterals with the use of toxic chemical warfare.   Some reports say 20 people were killed, and another 300 by chemical attacks.    Do I have this right?

SO after two years of extraordinary violence where upwards of 100,00 people, children, women and combatants have died in sectarian fighting the “enlightened” western trio is indignant over the less than 1% killed by chemicals.   Even the UN is putting it up to a vote.   Up until now the horrible plight of the ‘Palestinians’ has dominated that farcical body’s proclamations over the Israel’s insufficient peace process and tyrannical tactics for more than forty years.  So what has caused this brief shift in world attention?

Presumably its the “chemical” in chemical weapons that has everyone up in arms.   For two plus years rebel combatants and collaterals have been dying from gunfire, bombs, shrapnel, falling debris, mortars, rockets, lacerations, smoke and fire as well as famine and disease..   They’ve died in the street, in their homes, in the cities and in the country in every way civil war kills people.   But nothing has produced the serious proposals and threats we hear coming out of the moralistic trio and those rallying behind them.   

So why has chemically induced killing, a grim and scary reaper for sure become the red line we hear so much about?   Humanitarianism?    A concern for massive annihilation of innocents?   Moral indignation?   Even to bring them up is obviously laughable hypocrisy.    Lets agree it’s not about the value of human life.   If that were the case sabers should have been rattling back at the beginning of the slaughter.    

Weaponized chemical or biologic warfare is the latest red line of intolerance because of what it ostensibly represents.   Killing and risk to human life is the common denominator that can be achieved in so many ways as we know.   One difference with ‘conventional weapons’ (guns, bullets, missiles and bombs, etc.) and chemicals is the human capacity to believe there is some sort of defense against hard, fast moving objects.   Surprise chemical weapon attacks are silent and invisible.    Weaponized germs seem almost supernatural and yet are no more deadly to the individual than any other well aimed lethal force.    Individual death or injury are not about statistics, death rates, or relative risk.   Ultimately the method of lethal force matters little to the one “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The horror and mystique of chemical warfare is an arbitrary result of a society steeped in statistics and scientific objectivity.   Unless the risk factor is extraordinarily high, the victims are represented as statistical points on a graph rather than flesh and blood individuals. In the mathematical abstraction of statistical man
we can tolerate the loss of 80,000 entities. Something about chemical, poison gas that shifts the attitude and almost becomes intolerable and a “legitimate” reason for war.

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