In 1925 the Geneva Protocol enacted a resolution regarding the use of chemical weapons among participating countries. It did not, however, prohibit the development and stockpiling of chemical weapons, and even allowed member countries to keep them in the event a non-participating country used chemical weapons against them. The UN has since instituted and modified resolutions that further prohibited their use, but as we all know, the UN is a dog without teeth. This renders the UN irrelevant. If we are to have a global entity designed to oversee and vote on human rights violations, we ought to first do away with the ‘one nation veto’ that can prevent action by the rest of the world community, and also create an actual police force consisting of all countries with the authority to actually act on matters of great danger to civilians. Yes, I hear the Libertarians voicing their opposition to this, but it is a known fact that there is evil in the world (evil being defined as tyranny, repression and genocide by corrupt leaders and governments against their own people or against the sovereignty of another nation), and it should not fall upon the shoulders of any one country-state to act as the world’s police. So we need to take the old toothless dog out back and put it out of its misery, then get another dog – a trained one – with big, sharp teeth and claws.
Sadly, that does not undo the atrocities already committed by many dictators and governments. Italy gassed Ethiopians in 1935; the Nazis used poison to kill millions of Jews in World War II; the Japanese used blister agents against the Chinese in the late 1930s; Yemen used gas against its own people in the 60s; the US used Agent Orange in Vietnam; Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran and Kurds in the 1980s; terrorists in Japan used sarin gas in Japan in 1994, to name just a few examples. Had there been decisive and swift action against the perpetrators, perhaps many more lives could have been saved. Case in point: when it was confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Kurds and Iran, the global community should have found out where they were stockpiled and then gone in forcefully and removed them. Instead it is believed that Iraq’s chemical weapons cache were spirited away to Syria while world leaders sat around and debated the issue. Now look at the mess we’re in.
We have supposedly known about Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons for at least two years (I believe for much longer). Why, oh why was nothing done then? Is it because most of the world powers have their own multi-tonne stash of the same thing and don’t want to be labeled hypocrites? Now chemical weapons have been used against Syrian civilians, killing over one thousand people, including over four hundred children, and one month later governments are postulating, speculating, threatening, debating and wringing their collective hands over it. Don’t you suppose whoever perpetrated the atrocity has long since moved their chemical weapons to undisclosed locations (probably in the heart of civilian neighborhoods)? According to the US Secretary of State, we knew where the stockpile was before the attack. Do you think that maybe a few hundred Marines and a robust biohazard team could have made a surgical strike to procure, remove or destroy the chemical weapons? Do you suppose, if the intelligence community knows where they are right now, it might behoove someone to take them away from the perpetrators? If you see a child with a loaded gun in her hands, wouldn’t you break land speed records getting to the child and taking it away?
This current political posturing by the US Executive branch is a straight up farce. It is doomed to fail, and will create an angry hornet nest in the Middle East. Critics say the US is doing this deliberately in the hopes that Iran will come to Syria’s aid, and then give the US justification to go to war with them. I want to believe the US President’s rhetoric and bluster is due to pure ignorance and stupidity, but there’s a little nagging suspicion we are seeing the opening notes of a well orchestrated plan to plunge the world into another global war, in the name of power and greed. I hope I’m wrong.
The world really should have raised a well-disciplined yet ferocious dog to deal with evil when it comes to such things as using chemical weapons against civilians. What we have instead is a rabid, schizophrenic, out of control mutt. God help us all.