Well, following what has been described as a ‘humiliating’ defeat for Cameron over his proposal to use military intervention against the Syrian administration due to their use of chemical weapons, should we perhaps take this opportunity to review the morals/ethics associated with such actions.
For a moment, if we can ignore the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ position on the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances and maybe just concentrate on the proposals for intervention by such states as UK, USA and France, I sometimes have difficulty in understanding why there is a belief that these states have the right or ‘obligation’ as they sometimes put it to intervene at all.
While the use of such weapons under any circumstances is abhorrent to me, do the UK, USA, France etc etc etc have any right to intervene in any way, let alone in a military manner that by definition, will cause more death and suffering, albeit in a more selective and ‘honourable’ way?
Do these other states have the moral high ground in these situations bearing in mind their own aggressive, colonial pasts?
The UN is purported to be the supreme arbitor in these matters, yet is again shown to be toothless and influenced, if not dependent upon, the internal and opposing political stances of the members to each other, largely ignoring the actual issue in question.
Before any voting had taken place I could easily have predicted that Russia and China would support the Assad regime and UK/USA would support the ‘rebels’. Or is UK supporting the USA and Russia and China simply taking an eternal opposition to UK/USA position, forgetting any analysis of the Syrian conflict in the meantime.
On a smaller scale, could the same be said about Labour’s opposition to the Tory position in the UK?
Morally we have a right or even a requirement to be outraged that such horrendous weapons can be unleashed upon the citizens of a country by that country’s ruling cadre.
Ethically I have difficulty condoning slaughter of any kind as a response to slaughter, particularly by countries with no real legal right to do so.
A difficult one that I’m sure we’ll hear more of in the coming days/weeks.
- Military Intervention in Syria: The International Law Framework (ilg2.org)
- UN chief awaits Syria weapons report (bbc.co.uk)