[...] So, in the words of Jean Valjean, if we speak to Assad with cruise missiles, we risk condemning hundreds of innocents to death (for missiles are just as indiscriminate as nerve gas, and the Christians are bound to be systematically 'cleansed' in retribution). We also risk the possibility of Assad turning his formidable Russian-stoked firepower on Israel, in the hope of widening the conflict and uniting the Ummah against the pariah Jewish State.
Yet, if we stay silent, hundreds and possibly thousands more Syrian women and children are damned.
'By faith Abel, though dead, still speaks,' wrote the author to the Hebrews (11:4), alluding to Genesis where we are told that Abel's blood 'cries out from the ground' (4:10). The reason he still speaks is that God did not heed the cry: He did not exact from Cain the full satisfaction that nature demanded – He sent him to live in exile. alienated from his culture and shielded from judgment. Every judgment passed in Cain's new civilisation leaves Abel crying out: its justice will never be true justice, but a form of satisfaction intertwined with bouts of of guilt and regret.
Offended society cries out for satisfaction, and is damned with guilt when it acts. The mark of Cain is symbolic of our perpetual disquiet about a so-called civilisation which depends upon uncivilised violence as a means of satisfying the cry for justice. We cannot let Abel remain unvindicated.
Syria is a killing field. But it is not our civilisation: it belongs to the children of Ishmael and the followers of Mohammed. It is not clear why other Muslim nations are prepared to 'stand by' and 'do nothing' while their brothers and sisters are being slaughtered by their brothers and sisters. Why is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation not leading a response to this? Where are the declarations of condemnation? Why are they waiting for a display of 'Western' power and might?
For the 'West' to command moral assent, it must embody a formal commitment to righting wrongs. Barack Obama and David Cameron appear persuaded of the fact that Assad has committed a grievous crime, and so must be punished. They have the intelligence report: we do not. And so the economic powers will bomb the ancient City of Damascus – irrespective of whatever contrary voices are raised in Parliament – in order to defend honour, justice and freedom. Innocents will die horrific deaths, but 'collateral damage' is to be expected; it is justifiable.
Abel cries out from the ground, and must be avenged.
Not in His Grace's name.
Read also: Please Do What You Can Now to Halt this Rush to War by Peter Hitchens
Syria: we're being guilted into a war against our better interests and our higher reason by Tim Stanley, Telegraph
Syria: I hope I can support the Government tomorrow, but I'm not yet persuaded to do so by Norman Tebbit, Telegraph
The gathering storm by David Lindsay
Tony ‘Yo’ Blair on Syria and morality by Alexander Boot
Assad is a devil but his opponents are all demons too by Peter Mullen, Cranmer
Self-serving posturing over Syria by Melanie Phillips