Andy’s piece also offers a salubrious correction to another aspect of the dominant narrative about the situation in Syria: that it’s all about chemical weapons.
That’s the phrase — “chemical weapons.” Assad used chemical weapons, poison gas, ergo we have a moral obligation — a moral obligation, amigo — to do something, anything to get rid of Assad.
Two points: 1. Did Assad use chemical weapons? We don’t actually know. Maybe. Somebody did. And it might have been Assad. But as Andy points out, there’s a “dirty little secret” about chemical weapons that is not getting attention from the Obama administration and its media sycophants. It is this: “The rebels not only want them, they have them and they quite likely have used them, both in Syria and elsewhere. Al-Qaeda has been seeking to procure and use chemical weapons for over 20 years — and unlike Assad, al-Qaeda affiliates are quite likely to use them against the United States and Israel if they have the chance.” 2. Chemical weapons are pretty hideous, but are they really more hideous than other weapons employed by the bad guys? The cold water Andy splashes on this idea is clarifying:
I am unimpressed by the Western obsession over chemical weapons. They are ghastly, yes. But so, in the wrong hands, are bombs and jumbo jets and hollow-point bullets. To me, the shrieking over weapons of mass destruction is the international version of the Left’s domestic campaign against guns, and of a piece with its trendy revulsion against land- and sea-mines. This is the delusion that discord is caused by the song, not the singer. It is a cop-out: the pretense that there is a valid excuse for failing to grapple with the players and the ideologies that resort to violence — as if we live in a make-believe world where destructive weapons in the right hands are unnecessary to keep us safe; and where laws, conventions, and purported “norms” against various types of weapons are effective against rogues like Assad and al-Qaeda.
Andy ends with a question I wish someone would put to John Kerry: “Why is Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons worse than the rebels’ use of al-Qaeda?” I don’t think we’d get a very enlightening answer to that from John Kerry for the simple reason that the entire dance over Syria has almost nothing to do with the pursuit of a rational foreign policy and almost everything to do with supporting the moralizing narrative of an administration that values ideology over American interests.