Sunday, September 01, 2013

Why are chemical weapons deaths worse than conventional weapons deaths?

Discussion topic: the UN estimates that approximately 100,000 people have been killed during the Syrian civil war (not all by Assad’s forces) with conventional weapons over the course of a few years. There has been no serious discussion of a response by external military powers in that time period.

Yet a single attack of chemical weapons that kills a small fraction of that number of people “necessitates” a global (ie: western) military response, we are told.

So why is it that the 1400 deaths caused by chemical weapons is more “morally repugnant,” to use Sec. of State Kerry’s phrase, than the 100,000 deaths that preceded it by conventional weapons?

If the answer is some piece of paper called a treaty, then the follow up question is why does that piece of paper value chemical weapons deaths more? Why does it view those deaths as more of a threat when, by any objective measurement, conventional weapons cause far more deaths and are much more of a threat to international stability?

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