Weapons of choice illogical

“War is cruelty ... .” Those words were in a letter from Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to the mayor and councilmen of Atlanta during the siege of Atlanta in 1864. He also said in a speech to the 1879 graduating class of Michigan Military Academy that “War is hell.”

As much as it pains me to say this, I agree with him. I guess that’s why we have rules – if the warring country’s leaders signed the necessary treaties.

Don’t misunderstand – using poisonous gas on any human being at any time is horrendous. Killing children at any time for any reason with any weapon is horrendous. It seems to be that in war it is OK if the goal is to destroy property as well as people, but we have to draw a line when the goal is to kill people and not destroy property.

I just have a problem getting my mind around how it’s OK to kill one way but not another when so-called collateral damage is often great no matter the weapon. Is it OK to carpet-bomb cities to rubble (the Allies did a lot of that in World War II), but not OK to gas the same people and leave buildings standing? Dead is dead! Is it OK to use fuel/air explosives to incinerate people, guilty or not, and everything around them, but a no-no to kill those same people with a gas that poisons rather than ignites? Napalm is fine, but gas is not? Is it OK to take out a bad guy in a foreign country with a missile even if a few children are killed, but not OK to gas the guy?

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 have been killed in Syria since the beginning of its civil war. Gas-death estimates from other sources vary between 650 and 1,600 people. Horrendous? Yes! Reason to commit America’s wealth and blood? No!

There are dozens of reasons for America not to become more involved in Syria, but even the basic premise – poison gas – seems illogical to me!

Richard Greene

Appling

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