I haven't been writing much about Syria. That's because I don't know what's best to do. No, I'll rephrase that, since I often don't know what's best to do and I still venture an opinion, saying which way I lean. But on Syria, I'm at a loss. I'm glad, therefore, to have read this piece by Michael Walzer, by whom I've often been influenced:
Many people have been criticizing President Obama for dithering over what to do in Syria. Not me; dithering seems an entirely rational response to what's going on there. The difficulty is that we don't really know what we want to happen - I mean we don't know which among the likely possibilities would be the least awful. Of course, readers of Dissent would be happy to see the victory of Syrians who have been studying John Stuart Mill or who take their cue from Swedish social democracy. But nothing like that lies anywhere on (or near) the horizon.
The rest is here.
The aptness of Michael's remark about 'Syrians who have been studying John Stuart Mill' is brought home by this item from Human Rights Watch:
Human Rights Watch has reviewed graphic evidence that appears to show a commander of the Syrian opposition "Independent Omar al-Farouq" brigade mutilating the corpse of a pro-government fighter. The figure in the video cuts the heart and liver out of the body and uses sectarian language to insult Alawites. The same brigade was implicated in April 2013 in the cross-border indiscriminate shelling of the Lebanese Shi’a villages of al-Qasr and Hawsh al-Sayyed.