If civilians are killed in war (as in Syria), does it matter how?

  • Article by: Joshua Keating , Slate
  • Updated: October 3, 2013 - 7:08 PM

Governments concerned about chemical weapons may be blanching more at the threat to the power structure than to people.

  • 15
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
tmauelOct. 3, 1310:53 PM

Obviously to the deceased it doesn't matter how you die. The Syrian civil war and the U.S. intervention that props up this senseless civil war should end immediately.

11
0
mdachsOct. 3, 1311:27 PM

In general, the western powers have not cared one bit about the slaughter of people in emerging markets - Rwanda, Sudan, Syria, etc. The UN is powerless and has no will to do anything other than to pass meaningless resolutions condemning the slaughters. Chemical weapons are no different from bullets, missiles, and other weapons - they all kill.

10
0
comment229Oct. 4, 13 4:52 AM

The first two posts said it all. You have three choices in Syria. Assad, the rebels, or stay the hell away from all of it and let the Arab League figure it out.

10
0
ericgus55Oct. 4, 13 7:04 AM

Yes, dead is dead, but society has always determined some types of killing to be worse than others. In the US, for example, someone who kills by torture is considered to be worse (and punished as such) than someone who kills in a flurry of passion. Someone who kills due to negligence (run a red light in a car) is viewed and prosecuted differently than someone who premeditates killing someone. Yes, in theory, all death/killing is equal, but society has never viewed it that way. We make judgements about some being worse than others. I agree, however, that the removal of chemical weapons from Syria is only a first step, but it was an issue that helped to get the eyes of the world onto the situation, and the next step is to stop the war altogether.

6
0
davehougOct. 4, 13 7:10 AM

chemical weapons are so universally condemned “not primarily due to the spectre of dead civilians, but rather the way that weapons of this particular type threaten international order and state sovereignty - - - YES the UN was set up to prevent war between states. It was NOT mandated to protect people from their own government. This is the current view of China and Russia, because they don't want anyone in their internal affairs. Nobody has the job of preventing mass murder.

2
3
jimjimjimjimOct. 4, 13 7:57 AM

It is rather strange that we think dropping a bomb with gas in it is worse than dropping a bomb full of napalm on a village. How about dropping an atomic bomb over a civilian population?

8
1
luzhishenOct. 4, 13 8:00 AM

"This is the current view of China and Russia, because they don't want anyone in their internal affairs" - The US has also vetoed resolutions that might interfere with its allies' interests or internal affairs, so they are hardly changing the game by doing so.

5
0
ericgus55Oct. 4, 13 9:06 AM

Deep down, as the author is alluding to, is the idea that chemical weapons and WMD's throw off the balance. They allow small nations to do major damage, which is something that only powerful (or morally 'correct') nations should be able to do.

3
2
stpaulisbestOct. 4, 1310:10 AM

Oh, I don't know, dozens of international treaties banning the use of gas? Maybe that's the settled law of nations on the subject? Do yo really think that this question hasn't been vetted before? Do you really think this is an original thought? The use of poison gas is outlawed because of it's inherent indiscriminate properties. Bombs, bullets, missiles, rockets, at least these can all be aimed at a point in space even though operators do miss their targets and civilians do get killed. Gas spreads and can't be controlled. It is a weapon of mass destruction. So, how about you pay attention to the past and the discussions and treaties that have already been made before publishing your "original" thoughts?

2
8
pumiceOct. 4, 1311:25 AM

Customary International Humanitarian Law deals at length with the killing of civilians. The sanction on using chemical weapons and poisonous gas applies to enemy combatants and, of course, to civilians.

1
0

Comment on this story   |  

ADVERTISEMENT

  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT