Warning: This video contains many disturbing images of war, including corpses, burn victims, and affected children.
I am far, far from decided on whether we should intervene in Syria. The second and third order effects are far from certain. We would certainly cause more civilian casualties, even with the most careful of operations. Our understanding of the rebels is far from complete - they are comprised of dozens of fractured groups, some of whom have ideologies we would not want to support. There's a danger that if the rebels win, innocent minorities will be slaughtered in revenge killings. These are all far, far more important, than concerns about being seen as world police. They are certainly more important than pretending this is about oil, considering Syria's relatively minuscule output of the stuff.
But if, if we do nothing, we have a moral imperative to take doing nothing seriously. We have a moral responsibility to watch these videos, to see these injured, dying people begging for our help, and to still say after watching them that doing nothing is the right thing to do. We should not blow these videos off as manipulative mainstream media segments, as I see many American commenters doing. These videos are real. These people are real. This suffering is real. We have left people to die through our nonintervention, and we must be honest about that. We are morally complicit in the slaughter of tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands by the time this is done. Tens of thousands more are fleeing Syria into refugee camps, with little food, shelter, or medical care, and a completely uncertain future. What countries will take them in?
If this is done, and Assad wins, this is a person that we will allow back onto the world stage. He will come to New York to speak at the United Nations. He will stay in our hotels.
We may do nothing. It may be the right thing to do. Our intervention may be worse, we have to consider that.
But we shouldn't be so damn smug about it. Watch the videos.