It’s interesting to see how the on-going debates surrounding the Syrian use of chemical weapons, against its own citizens, are defining the governments of several countries.
The United States government also endorsed and perpetuated the enslavement of Africans, Chinese, and Native Americans, for decades. Viewed as being of a lesser value, these people of color were bought and sold as animals.
The government of Germany, prior to, and during the Second World War, enslaved and murdered millions who failed to meet the standards of Aryan perfection. The Third Reich developed and refined history’s most efficient and effective killing machines, all within sight of a silent Europe.
The governments of many African nations—Darfur, Somalia, Chad, Nigeria and Sudan—strike out against components of its population, just as South Africa’s Apartheid policy effectively shackled generations of that country’s majority.
The justification for these genocides always benefits one group at the expense of another. The cost is always measured in human life. Men, women and children who are seen as lesser—seen as being irrelevant and ineffectual—are relegated to and treated as less than human.
There exists an eternal stain on the soul of any nation which demeans, exploits, or dehumanizes its own. That stain is shared by those nations who turn a blind eye towards the cruelty of its neighbor.
Who, given the ability to do so, would not have stopped the excesses of the United States, Germany, Rwanda, South Africa, and all those who turn on their own?
Today, the United States government searches for the kernel of Constitutional authority which grants license to intervene and stop Syrian use of chemical weaponry.
Who will step forward to help those being held back?
I’m thinking the moral authority to protect human life—any human life—trumps all governmental doctrine.