With US President Obama now seeking authorization from Congress to attack Syria, the already spirited debate surrounding the advisability of such military action is bound to get even more lively in the coming days. To make sense of all the argumentation and rhetoric, I am once again going to apply an old method of reasoning about controversial questions most famously used by St. Thomas Aquinas, itself a a more formalized version of the Socratic method of seeking truth about a given topic by scrutinizing the authoritative opinions about that topic. What I hope this approach will do is make it all the more evident that we have no business intervening in Syria.
Should an Attack be Launched Against Syria?
Objection 1: It seems that it should because there is compelling evidence that the Bashir al-Assad government authorized the use of chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people in an assault that took place on August 21 in the suburbs of Damascus. Not only are chemical weapons a uniquely heinous instrument of war, insofar as they bring about a horrible death, they are also capable of killing large numbers of individuals with a single strike. Chemical weapons thus fall under the category of weapons of mass destruction whose possession and use it is the interest of all peace-loving nations to deter.
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