You are missing my point.
Sean Neville
2

I argue that sovereignty is a concept that is negated by gross violation of human rights — death camps, for example, or any systematic process of extermination of groups of people.

There are multiple values at play here. You are referring to one of them, which I would refer to as our human conscience. If I were to use only my human conscience as my guide, I think I’d probably remove 2/3 of the leaders in the world.

But, I mitigate that with other values. One, which Caitlin brings up, is respect for national borders and the nations defined by them. This not only has a legal aspect, but also a historical one. And Syria’s historical creds are rather significant, to say the least.

Another one is the right of the people to self-determine their own fate. I have an entire half of my family bending my ear on this one daily. Truly, they would rather have “their guy”, with all his warts, problems, and shortcomings, than have a solution dictated to them (again!) by the West and the Zionists (those two words are always in the same sentence if you’re from the region).

They see the West as more tyrannical than Assad. Probably not as physically dangerous to them as Assad is, but more tyrannical, on balance.

I have to opt for self-determination on this one. If the West is to dictate a solution, then Syria needs to be stabilized so an election, with Assad, can take place.

In these cases, the moral world must intervene. People must be rescued from an unjust and horrific fate. That is a moral obligation. We are not allowed to do nothing.

Well. no Assad = dead Christians. That’s kind of a horrible fate as well.

This is essentially in agreement with what you wrote. Morally, it is desirable that Assad be removed from office, but the logistics are possibly too high a price. This is the complexity of the problem. It is not as simple as Ms. Johnstone believes.

Well, in some ways, Ms. Johnstone told us the situation was simple in her headline, then went ahead and explained in her prose how complicated it was. :-)

Finally, regardless of the status of the chemical use in Syria, Assad’s practices reflected in the Amnesty report referenced in my original response have permanently deligitimized him. Eventually he must be held accountable for those crimes just as the Nazis were held responsible for theirs.

Well, if he loses the election, we can arrest him, I suppose. :-)

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