Out of Syria come reports alleging the worst chemical weapons attack yet. From the United Nations and the U.S. come the stock promises “to investigate this as soon as possible” (the UN) and “do our due diligence and get all the facts and determine what steps need to be taken” (the U.S.).
Fine — investigating, with due diligence, is a good move. Unless, of course, it amounts chiefly to a way of looking responsive while ducking the issue — defaulting to investigation not as a basis for effective action, but as a substitute for it.
Is anyone serious about actually stopping the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons?
The Obama administration has already investigated previous reports of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, and in a June press briefing stated that American intelligence services assessed with “high confidence” that yes, indeed, the government of Syria had used chemical weapons. OK, but as reports roll in of a new attack, on the biggest scale yet… now what?