I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.--Winston Churchill, 1919
Old Winston was cogitating about the most effective ways to punish Iraqis (nee Mesopotamians) who had the impertinence to rise up against rule by Perfidious Albion.
Back in the day, it was permissible for colonial powers to use any weapon. no matter how horrible, to teach the wogs a lesson. We gringos, for example, pioneered dive bombing back in the 1920s. Our targets were refractory Nicaraguan peasants. The Nazis adopted the technique as a central element of their Blitzkrieg strategy.
In Indochina we ended or extended the misery of millions of Vietnamese with the chemical Agent Orange. Then we helped our erstwhile ally Saddam Hussein gas Iranians and Kurds back in the ‘80s. And all of our recent wars have included the use of depleted uranium weapons.
So it should be difficult for Washington to threaten war over alleged Syrian gas attacks on civilians with a straight face. But, then again, who in Washington has a straight face?
I have no idea about why such a self-destructive decision was made, but it appeared a couple of days ago that Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama was on the verge of making war on Syria, yet another distant country that has done us no harm.
It seemed so because the media, in place of the usual political drivel, started rolling out the warhawks to salivate about weapons and tactics. Their jingoism was tempered this time by the worry that Syria may have means to defend itself. Picking fights with those who can fight back has long been a no-no for the Pentagon and its contractors.
Yesterday, Tuesday, the media was announcing war by tomorrow, Thursday. Now they seem to be backing off a bit. There’s talk of giving the UN inspectors more time. A NY Times headline finds the U.S case for war “muddied” by the refusal of the Arab League to endorse an attack on Syria.
After a dozen years of blood-letting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world’s most powerful empire only managed to make everything worse. It's all but guaranteed that a more awful result will result from a war on Syria. But, hey, the Pentagon contractors make a ton of bucks every time we fire off a million dollar cruise missile. So it's not all bad.