Letter: Vigilantism only risks more lives

In the absence of a UN resolution, international bans on chemical and biological warfare are unenforceable. For the U.S. to practice vigilante justice would simply put more lives at risk, including the lives of Americans. All our president or any head of state can promise is that Bashar al-Assad and other perpetrators will sooner or later be tried and punished.

Syria’s ruler is in a fight to the death; nothing is going to stop him from using any weapon that gives him a hope of victory. If we want, we can give aid to his enemies — even though they have been joined by radical Islamists and al-Qaeda. 

But in the Middle East our intervention is often counter-productive: it arouses more turmoil than it quells. So, aside from warning the Syrian regime that a day of reckoning awaits war criminals, all our president should do is give covert aid to our friends, if any, and bide our time.

— Robert Crosman