Edited version of this op ed published in Irish Examiner. Here is the full version.
Trump’s attack on Syria - not an act of humanitarianism
The international outrage caused by the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province last week which killed over 80 people, most likely carried out by the Syrian regime, is justified and understandable as are calls that something must be done to end the horrific six year war in Syria.
Chemical weapons versus equally horrific weapons
The use of internationally banned chemical weapons against civilian targets are rightly condemned but why does their definition not include such equally awful weapons as depleted uranium and white phosphorous or even conventional weapons? The US Central Command has confirmed that it has used depleted uranium against Da’esh in Iraq. It was used extensively in the 2004 US attack on Fallujah which, a study has shown, has left a legacy of increased rates of infant mortality, cancer, deformed births that are proportionately greater than that those recorded after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs in WW2.
The coalition force’s use of white phosphorous has recently been noted in Mosul and was also used by the Israeli Military against Gazans in the 2008-2009 war, in one case attacking a school where civilians were sheltering.
It’s a mute point that the victims of these attacks would be concerned about the academic and scientific distinction between chemical weaponry and other equally barbaric forms of attack often deployed by coalition forces.
Hypocrisy of the US and other western powers