Words barely suffice

Apr 5, 2017 By Steven R. Peck

Human decency is upheaved by the chemical weapons attack in Syria

Loathsome. Repugnant. Appalling. Disgraceful. Hideous.

Is there even an appropriate word to describe the chemical weapons attack Monday on a civilian neighborhood in Syria?

Vile. Despicable. Stunning. Immoral.

Even a list of words barely touches on the degeneracy of the attack, which was captured on live video and now has been seen by millions of people around the world.

Among other things, it shows tiny children fighting for life as their parents and others douse them with fire hoses, trying to wash away the chemical weapons agents that are killing the kids.

As many as 30 children are among the dead -- and death from poison gas is a terrible, frightening, suffering death.

Heartbreaking. Infuriating. Incomprehensible.Unforgivable.

Virtually every emotion other than happiness is roused by this attack, which defies not only military logic in the Syrian government's attempt to crush rebel resistance, but also any scrap of human decency. These were Syrian civilians, attacked -- apparently -- with outlawed weapons by their own government.

Wicked. Revolting. Foul. Obscene.

Our new president, still looking for solid footing after two months of toe-stubbing, found a camera and a microphone Wednesday afternoon and condemned the attack. If he is looking for an opportunity, at last, to demonstrate statesmanship and world leadership, he has it now. He began badly on Tuesday, blaming former President Obama for not invading or otherwise attacking Syria a couple of years ago, even though one of the famous Trump tweets at the time urged Obama not to attack.

Tweets won't cut it this time. If there is someone who can get the president's attention and keep it, that person must insist that this is not the time for domestic political squabbling. This is a global atrocity that demands the full, principled weight of the United States of America, applied without ambiguity.

Beastly. Cowardly. Scurrilous. Criminal.

For generations the world has looked to the United States, at the very least, for moral authority. That has never been Mr. Trump's strong suit, but his office and the nation's place in the world dictate clear, strong, unequivocal response from the United States.

Perhaps that is beginning today, as it must.

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