letters | Showdown over Syria

Hard to accept US stand in face of own actions

The United States has accumulated a runaway portfolio of illegal wars and direct and proxy use of chemical and incendiary substances against civilians — to wit: Agent Orange, napalm, and white phosphorus. These and America’s conventional arms have wrought vast civilian collateral damage in our century of wars and in each individual conflict.

Is every American-inflicted civilian casualty deliberate? Of course not. But is there any remaining credibility to this government’s claim that it does not seek to terrorize certain populations in order to break them? Vietnam was merely the largest-scale and clearest example.


In words the United States is the world’s foremost champion of civilians trapped in war zones. In deeds it is perhaps their foremost killer and among the more cynical and hypocritical.

This is why it is impossible to believe the administration’s stated humanitarian, anti-chemical-weapons pitch for bombing the odious Syrian regime. People smell a rat. A geopolitical calculus, whatever its exact particulars, must lurk behind the noble posturing.

James Taff


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