Killing your own citizens using one method is fine, but another way is totally unacceptable, and killing more using British planes and guns would actually be a very good thing, the UK government has announced today.
As it became clear that David Cameron was ‘up to 40% certain’ that President Assad sanctioned a chemical attack on his own people, a claim seemingly based solely on the fact that opposition forces are deemed ‘a bit too shit’ to be toting poison gas, ministers began making exactly the kind of noises which will result in large areas of Damascus being flattened.
There are unconfirmed reports that when not writing impassioned Telegraph articles, William Hague has spent the last four days running around Westminster with a toy Eurofighter, making missile noises then screaming ‘BANG’ repeatedly.
The question absolutely nobody seems to be asking, however, is why poisoning people is considered a war crime, but shooting them casually for a good six months isn’t.
And one that at least some people are asking is why the appropriate response from the UK should be to carry out ‘surgical strikes’ on the country in question with the kind of stunning precision that normally turns important military targets like residential areas and schools into rubble and bodies.
Sadly, these questions cannot be answered by a hollow soundbite so they are likely to stay off the political agenda indefinitely.
David Cameron has been unequivocal in stressing that the Syria issue is “not like Iraq”, insisting that “What we are seeing in Syria is fundamentally different”, presumably because Iraq cost Tony Blair his job.
It is thought that the fundamental difference in the two situations is that Syria is slightly north-west of Iraq.