There are plenty of good reasons not to attack, as Ted Rall details in this article in Smirking Chimp. Juan Cole writes about opposition from European governments. It's a dumb idea. We of course haven't had such qualms about the use of chemical weapons in the past. The napalm and Agent Orange we used in "Vietnam" wreaked havoc, and still cause problems in that country. Our use of white phosphorous and depleted uranium in "Iraq" and "Afghanistan" is well-documented. Obama seems determined and undeterred, though, and has painted himself into a proverbial corner with his threats.
I have a slightly different response to the furor over chemical weapons. What intrigued me about this latest attack-mongering was the semantics, the use of words and their meaning. Chemical weapons. Weapons made of chemicals. Are chemicals only bad when they are used as weapons, but benign when used otherwise? If a person dies as a result of exposure to chemicals should someone be attacked? Just what are the criteria?
Vastly more people are killed every year through chemical warfare waged on the planet by the likes of Dow, DuPont and Monsanto, to name the most serious offenders. Some of us remember Union Carbide (now a part of DuPont), whose chemicals killed an estimated 16,000 in Bhopal, India in 1984 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster) No one was bombed afterwards, and no one from Union Carbide served any jail time (a few of their "Indian" executives were convicted, but were released on bail).
Indeed, it can truthfully be said that millions around the planet have died untimely deaths from cancer and other diseases as a result of chemical exposure. No one as yet has been bombed to avenge these deaths or to prevent further carnage. No "red line" has ever been crossed, because none has ever existed.
What is the difference with Syria, one might ask. The difference, I suspect, is that Syria has not ante-ed up. If you want to poison people with chemicals you have to pay to play. It matters not whether it is involved in conflict or profit. What matters is the bribe. Pay someone off and you can pretty much do what you want.
Saddam paid us in cheap oil. He was our friend, and gassed his own people, with our help. Then he got uppity, wanted a bigger share for himself and his country. It took a couple of invasions, but his demise was meant more as a warning to others.
Why, one might ask, would Obama be so keen to attack another country, given recent history? I think the answer involves great complexity. His advisers, tough guys, are telling him to attack. Tough guys always want to attack. His "red line" was crossed. He wants to project "American," and by derivation his, power. He needs a "success," given recent "defeats." He doesn't want to be called "weak." It's good for momentum in getting other things done. He will get a lot of media attention. It changes the subject from other unpleasant topics, like the economy, global warming, NSA domestic spying, "gridlock" in the Congress, his "legacy," etc.
It's a dumb idea. The likelihood is it will do more harm than good, if any. Maybe our bought, "do-nothing" Congress will stop him. I wouldn't count on it. They are bought and do nothing. We're dying of stupidity.
I linked to this song previously. It still comes to mind whenever I hear Obama or Kerry speak.
Here's an example of the harm done by chemicals. Here's another. This article gives some advice about chemical exposure. Here's a video of the most notorious napalming in "Vietnam."
For some info from National Public Radio on how "we" helped Saddam Hussein gas the "Iranian" army, click here.
Here's an old song from Woodstock. Here's another by the same guy.
Here's an update about Agent Orange in "Vietnam."
For a little perspective, this.
In case you were distracted by the shiny keys of war-mongering, here's a reminder of what the shiny keys are meant to distract you FROM.
In addition to chemical and atomic weapons, our "leaders" have had no qualms about using cluster bombs in our various wars and incursions around the planet.