NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

August 30, 2013

Lessons still to be learned

It is mid-morning of Wednesday of this last week in August 2013 as I write this.

I have just returned from a morning walk down Newbury’s Hay Street to Quill’s Pond, where peace of a certain kind rules.

Peace rarely makes news. Conflict does, and that was all over the news cycles when I returned.

It’s core? Evidence shows that Syria’s leaders used deadly chemicals against its citizens. International turmoil follows.

Members of Congress are currently engaged with the upcoming elections.

That could be foreseen because of what appears to be in the making during the past 10 days.

In the previous week there had been some doubt that Syria’s leaders had been involved in the use of chemical weapons against their own people.

There were suspicions that they had, but evidence was lacking until the past weekend when reports supported the belief that Syria’s leaders had, indeed, used chemical weapons, killing hundreds of men, women and children of their own.

Incredible? No.

Once upon another time when the world seemed to be much larger than it has become, that was not uncommon, but information about it didn’t travel far.

That is no longer the case, and so ... “Here we go again,” because Chuck Hagel, our most recent secretary of Defense said so.

He’s not alone.

David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, has put it forward with a bit more grace by saying, “The world shouldn’t stand idly by.”

Francois Hollande, president of France, has said, “This mass chemical massacre cannot go unanswered.”

But, “Not so fast,” say Russia and China, whose responders agree that force without Security Council backing would be “a crude violation of international law.”

Maybe, but be not surprised that others don’t think so.

One is President Obama.

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