Syrian president Bashar Assad, defending his willingness to maim and to kill non-combatant Syrian men, women and children, has stated that he is no worse than a surgeon who bloodies his hands while doing his job. For Assad, the job is to perpetuate himself in power. The ends justify the means.
Our own president, perhaps unsure of how to respond to the human suffering in Syria and eager to postpone any action there, has retreated to the realm of argument with respect to means. As Assad kills hundreds of civilians with devices like "barrel bombs," President Obama appears preoccupied with the purely academic question of whether or not the Syrian leader has been using chemical weapons as well. Given the savagery of total warfare, the means employed should be a mere footnote, not a headline.
For some time, doctors and nurses in Syria struggling to deal with massive casualties have been questioning the need for debate over means and have been crying out for increased humanitarian aid to the wounded and dying. What aid providers require are not more resolutions and deadlines but safe passage, supplies, and personnel in order to bring relief to the suffering in Syria.
John Clem, Edinburg