I have previously written about Syria here. In it, I point to the concept of non-combatant immunity as the highest priority of any framework involving violence or responses to it. For me, that framework is the Just War tradition.
I had recently lashed out at our President via a Facebook post that about a dozen people saw. I was critical of him for doing nothing. The news that provoked that post was not the chemical attack and the videos and photos of its aftermath (which I have yet to view), but rather the report from the UN that there are now over 1,000,000 children who have been forced to flee the violence.
Funny how things play out. Within 24 hours of my hardly-viewed post, the President was talking about options including the military. Hagel said we're ready to go "like that." Even France was calling for action. None of it felt like good news to me. None of it seemed to address the real issue -- the violation of non-combatant immunity. It all sounded so punitive. Let's punish Assad for what he's done. None of it was protective. Let's do something to help the refugees and ensure both sides do not target civilians anymore.
At this point, it sure seems that the President is going to the "coalition of the willing" well one more time. We'll fire off some tomahawks because, as someone said, it's what we're good out. All this may even INCREASE non-combatant deaths. I'll be honest, I was hoping for a better plan from a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Protection not punishment.