A news release from the Ministry of Health and Military Might (HMM) in the Damascus El Bulshid, the official newspaper of the Syrian regime, explains that the release of a chemical substance in several Damascus suburbs on May 21, 2013 was not the result of an attack using chemical weapons. The substance released by the government was MMR, a vaccine to immunize children against measles, mumps, and rubella, in response to outbreaks of those diseases. The government regrets that the vaccine was not released sooner, so that many of the deaths due to disease could have been avoided.
Does this sound silly? No sillier than the President explaining that his objective is to stop the Assad regime from killing children with chemical weapons with minimal commitment and minimal risk. More than 100,000 have been killed in the civil war and at least half were killed by the government and its allies. One thousand dead due to chemical weapons is no joke, but as a portion of the casualties it is pretty small. However, the President is making a big deal of the fact that sarin gas was used at the same time he wants portray our involvement as not a big deal. Our priority should not be to stop Assad from killing children with chemical weapons, it should be to stop oppressive governments from killing all kinds of people with any weapons!
The United Nations has been a disappointment in many ways, but it is still a young organization. The International Criminal Court is not yet out of its infancy. The International Criminal Court and the U.N. are our best chance to create mechanisms to prevent the massacre of civilians by states and stateless forces. There is where our priorities should lie.
John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
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