If a country breaches an International Convention, that in no sense makes it legal in international law for other countries to bomb it. Otherwise Britain should certainly be bombed for continual and flagrant breaches of the UN Convention against Torture in the context of extraordinary rendition, and for breaches of several international arms control treaties with regard to the planned acquisition of a new, enhanced, and ruinously expensive, Trident missile system.
Even if we accept that the Assad regime was responsible for chemical weapons attacks, that does not give a right to bomb Syria. Why the lunatic bloodlusters all over our screens – including recycled Blairites who should be in jail – think that blowing children to pieces ourselves is the correct response to horrible pictures of dead children, is something no TV journalist has had the guts to ask them.
Even the lunatic warmonger Blair felt the need to bolster the almost non-existent legal arguments for the attack on Iraq with a claim, however ridiculous, that there was imminent danger of an attack by Iraq on British sovereign territory with WMD – in that case the British military bases on Cyprus. Yet another reason, incidentally, that those colonial remnants must urgently be returned to the Cypriots. If Britain had been in genuine imminent danger of attack, that would indeed have been a justification of some validity. On Syria we have merely the claim that some civilians have been destroyed by chemicals; a terrible thing, but when hundreds of thousands have already been eviscerated by white hot metal, and horribly murdered by all side in this gruesome civil war, not the most logical of spurs to action against only one side in particular.
That the Assad regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attacks is perfectly possible but very, very far from certain. Particularly as those who claim to have the most certainty about it are precisely those who lied repeatedly about WMD. That the Assad regime should risk this action now it is winning the war seems peculiar, to say the least. But the truth is that even if it was Assad himself, nobody else has any legal right to intervene in this civil war without the express authority of the UN Security Council, and there is no possibility of that.
Many on the right are arguing that the Security Council is irrelevant, but we should not bomb anyway as we have no idea of the long term result. That is true but still short sighted. The same prudence should apply to the consequences of destroying international law and the authority of the UN. To do that might seem smart to the neo-cons when the USA is the most powerful military force on earth and we in the UK are its sidekick. But within my lifetime China will be the most powerful military force on earth.
The neo-cons may feel that destroying the idea of international restraint, in favour of might is right, is to their advantage, but that is simply further proof of their quite extraordinary short sightedness and stupidity.