U.S. should lead effort to aid Syrian refugees

Poison gas has been used in the civil war in Syria. This is not the first time our United States has been confronted with this heinous crime. Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds and also gassed Iranians in that war. Where was the moral outrage? The theory “the enemy of my enemy is a friend” seemed to justify this stratagem. “Weapons of mass destruction” is the buzzword used to call for intervention in this horrible conflict.

Let’s look at the facts on the ground. About 100,000 were killed by bombs and bullets, 1,500 were gassed. In Rwanda, almost a million died as a result of machete attacks and small arms fire and the world looked the other way. I sympathize with the president’s dilemma, but limited strikes and a no-boots-on-the-ground approach will only prolong the agony and make more people resentful of American interference.

Over 2 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon and these countries have limited means to accommodate them. As I see it, the only good option is for America to lead a worldwide humanitarian effort to aid the refugees who face a winter of pain and death. More people may die of hunger and disease than the actual civil war.

Henry N. Stahl Jr.