Evidence of chemical weapons attacks on civilian populations in Syria last week added a barbarous dimension to an already heart-wrenching humanitarian disaster that has been unfolding in Syria over the past two years. The Obama administration asserts that the loathsome Assad regime has crossed a “red line” set by the President of the United States. Such a breach, says Obama, justifies U.S. military intervention.
No one doubts that the perpetrators of such grotesque violence should be held accountable. Yet the United Nations–the legitimate investigatory entity in such international crises–is still evaluating the scope and responsibility for the attacks. More importantly, accountability should come from law, supported by the international community, not in the form of “punishment” meted out unilaterally by the United States in the form of a rain of missiles.