'Red line' debate: Are chemical weapons in Syria worse than conventional attacks?
August 27th, 2013
01:58 PM ET

'Red line' debate: Are chemical weapons in Syria worse than conventional attacks?

By Josh Levs

The U.S. and international effort to respond to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria begs the question: Why intervene now, and not earlier in the civil war?

More than 100,000 people have died in the conflict, which has raged for more than two years.

There have been massacres. Populated areas have been bombed. Blasts have targeted people lining up for food at bakeries. People have been decapitated.

Millions of Syrians are displaced.

But a single, horrifying attack has crossed what U.S. President Barack Obama called a "red line." Rebel officials say more than 1,300 people, including many women and children, died recently as a result of chemical weapons.

Post by:
Filed under: Syria
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. saeed

    and this coming from the same country that started the Iraq war that killed 1 million people.

    August 28, 2013 at 4:13 am | Reply
  2. John Riley Goldsmith

    Rush Limbaugh is absolutely right that John Kerry and President Obama along with their media allies are desperately seeking a way to back off the President's precipitous red line threat to avoid diving into a bigger mess than that faced by either of the Bush Presidents. Unlike Iraq, the Baath party in Syria has no place to go so can be expected to fight to the death.

    August 28, 2013 at 12:26 am | Reply
  3. Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

    There is no difference. Take a look at the unedited photos and videos of the aftermath wrought by ‘conventional’ weapons and tell me they are more humane. War is war… this ‘Red Line” business is a joke.

    August 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • John McKane

      The bigger question here Tom is, these so-called "chemical" attacks really any less humane than the obscene use of our ungodly drones against the people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen? Somehow, I don't think so.

      August 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Reply
      • marco1

        Conventional weapons are horrible to say the least but have you ever seen footage of what chemical weps are like? The footage from Syria was shocking but other nerve agents are even more horrible.
        Whats more chemical weps are completely arbitrary in where they go and who they kill. You lob them out there and hope they don't come back at you. Conventional weps at least CAN be targeted with some precision.
        Do some research and imagine your childern's day care instead of a city far away.
        This is not some abstract ethical debate they are clearly outlawed under the Geneva convnetion.
        if we tolerate this attack now, you can bet some day it happen here.

        August 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
      • Quinton

        Come on marco1, have you any evidence that the Assad regime gassed it's own people? I think not! The so-called "rebels" most probably did it and the right-wing thugs in Washington are desperately looking for an excuse to drag us into this obscene so they can take over Syria!

        August 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • Bill in STL

        Wow Quinton... Have you read what you posted? Right wing thugs??? So Obama and his cabinet are right wing thugs? What a moron you must truly be!

        August 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • StanCalif

      Who was the country that invented atomic bomb attacks? No other country has done this (yet). Think about it. Is turning people into dust somehow better than death by nerve gas?

      August 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Reply
  4. John Smith

    Terrorism with a “Human Face”: The History of America’s Death Squads
    CIA Support of Death Squads
    The recruitment of death squads is part of a well established US military-intelligence agenda. There is a long and gruesome US history of covert funding and support of terror brigades and targeted assassinations going back to the Vietnam war.

    August 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

      What is your point?

      August 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  5. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    August 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Reply

    The ak47 has killed more people than any other weapon of war.

    August 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
    • Bill in STL

      And who supplies the AK47? Better question is probably what is the preferred weapon of Islamic terrorists???

      August 27, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  7. Mhgdtrf Rkgdtr

    satan sucks tee shirts being worn by arab americans

    August 27, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • BIG SHIZ

      That's ignorant,illiterate and racist.

      August 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  8. Mhgdtrf Rkgdtr


    August 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  9. portland tony

    I personally don't think Assad would order a toxic chemical attack in today's political environment. One of his underlings may have blown it...But it's stupid. Anyone can unleash a poison gas attack by just opening a canister of a gas like chlorine or fluorine etc, which being heavier than air, will seek low lying areas and kill people sleeping close to the ground. But you don't do it in your backyard. Let's becareful before we do another "Shock and Awe" fiasco?

    August 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Agree! Our last "shock and awe" campaign resolved nothing. Our "mission accomplished" was a big lie! Our mission was only to begin, with no good results. Sure, we got rid of Saddam and expected the people of Iraq to dance in the streets and give thanks for their salvation! Surprise! The Iraqi's returned to their age old differences and chose not to live in peace but to go back to killing each other! Our "democratically" elected government has chosen Iran as their best friend. Absolutely no respect for the opportunities we sacrificed so much for them! Dick Cheney didn't get any oil!

      August 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.