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letters | in a gray area over syria

Is the type of weapon really the issue?

I haven’t made up my mind about possible responses to the Syrian situation, but I have a nagging question.

I’ve been wondering what the reaction might be if news came out that, using conventional or incendiary bombs instead of chemical weapons, President Bashar Assad bombed a large town with an air raid that killed between 100 and 1,000 civilians — men, women, and children (about the same casualty estimates from the use of chemical weapons).

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Is there really a difference between using chemical weapons and using conventional ones? The phrase that keeps going through my mind is: “Dead is dead.” Does it matter so much in this scenario how they are killed?

David Mack


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