Too often, our excellent vision for the faults of others is blinded when facing our own shadows.
That kindest of critics once said: only one without sin should cast the first stone. Perceptive listeners--none stepped forward--unlike politicos today, hot to punish Syria for bombing its citizens with poison gas.
U.S. intelligence under Reagan helped Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gas thousands of Iranian soldiers, while ignoring his use of gas against his own people.
Ah, unloved Iran. Our relationship started badly when we conspired with Britain to overthrow its democratically elected president in 1953. The president's crime was insisting on a fair price for the oil Britain was helping itself to.
Today, Iran has a mutual defense pact with Syria, and bad memories of our backing the shah's repressive 26-year rule, when we shared in Iran's oil wealth.
Russia and China also have interests in the region. They are opposed to attacks on Assad, and may feel obliged to increase their support to balance attacks on him.
Then recall that some Syrian rebels are actually Al Qaida and allies.
The admirable urge to right a wrong should be respected, as long as it does not propose another wrong. Negotiation offers better prospects than escalation.
Obama could instead rightly help innocent Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian and Afghani families who have already suffered massive destruction from U.S. and Soviet weapons. Few would fault clean water, food, sewage treatment, heath care, fuel, roads and power plants.
Of such efforts can peace grow.