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Guilt by decree
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Obama administration has decided that Bashar Assad needs to be forcibly punished for the use of poison gas against his own people.

Assad's guilt has already been assigned, in spite of the fact that Syrian government forces were gaining an upper hand on the rebels and had, therefore, no motive for this war crime.

This guilt by decree is, of course, a replay of the prelude to the Iraq invasion. If we had learned anything from this unnecessary war, and if we indeed had no ulterior motives, our course of action today would be clear.

If our government has sufficient proof that Assad personally ordered this crime it should be submitted to the United Nations, which would then refer the case to the International Criminal Court.

Why do we have institutions to uphold international law if we are not willing to use them? "Shoot first, ask questions later" was the law of the Old West, but it will not gain us the trust and respect of the world now.

Ernst Rodin


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