Should President Obama decide to order a military strike against Syria, his main order of business must be to kill Bashar Assad. Also, Bashar’s brother and principal henchman, Maher. Also, everyone else in the Assad family with a claim on political power. Also, all of the political symbols of the Assad family’s power, including all of their official or unofficial residences. The use of chemical weapons against one’s own citizens plumbs depths of barbarity matched in recent history only by Saddam Hussein. A civilized world cannot tolerate it. It must demonstrate that the penalty for it will be acutely personal and inescapably fatal.
That’s Bret Stephens, arguing in the Wall Street Journal that justice demands murdering a bunch of people who are connected to Bashar Assad … including anyone “in the Assad family with a claim on political power.” You know, like his children.
You think that murdering thousands of civilians is unjust? I agree. You think that the use of chemical weapons is intolerable? I’m with you.
But, guess what? There’s no conceivable way that any of that leads to the idea of purposely targeting kids for execution. There’s no way to make an argument that such an action is a proper response to “barbarity” and no way to claim that it’s connected to “A civilized world” responding to criminality and injustice. Purposely targeting children because they happen to be the children of a war criminal is barbarity, criminality, and injustice.
This seems pretty obvious … but, then, I’m not writing in the Wall Street Journal.