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Who, Exactly, Is Responsible?

1:22 PM, Aug 27, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Secretary of State Kerry used estimably strong language Monday in a speech on events in Syria:

"The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity ... By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable." 

Now, as Matt Vasilogambros and Brian Resnick of the National Journal write:

... the question shifts from whether the U.S. will use force against the Assad regime to when it will use force. Indeed, the U.S. is in talks with its allies, including France and the U.K., on what sort of force it will use. According to several reports, a cruise-missile launch from the sea is the leading option. Whatever Washington decides, it is clear that the U.S. will act, at least according to Kerry.

Since the blame falls on the "Assad regime," then one could argue that the target of whatever "option" the administration decides to employ when it comes to means, the matter of what target to hit is settled.  Or should be.  

In a review of Mein Kampf, published in March of 1940 George Orwell wrote of Hitler, "I would certainly kill him if I could get within reach of him but ... feel no personal animosity."  

This was before the fall of France, the bombing of London, the invasion of Russia and, of course, before the world learned of the camps and the Holocaust.  Hitler was just another dictator but one who was plainly taking the whole world down the road to war and without whom it would have been a better place.  So killing him, in Orwell's mind, would have been the right thing to do.  Eventually, entire German cites were bombed flat in order to get to Hitler.  So much better if someone like Orwell had gotten "within reach" of him in 1940 and killed him.  

The "Assad regime" starts with ... Assad.  The president of the United States called the use of chemical weapons a "red line."  The whole world considers their use a war crime.  Whatever means is employed in retaliation, people will be killed.

Why not make it clear that this time, we don't intend to work from the bottom, up: but from top, down.  

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