Firstly, watch this. That world can seem so far away, just a news story, just something that doesn't really effect us. But within seconds you can drown in the feeling of injustice. Why are they so helpless? The doctor at the end sums up their sense of abandonment: "We don't matter, the whole world has failed our nation".
David Cameron rightly said yesterday that there is no certainty that military action will calm any violence. As it happened, Labour hijacked any possibility of that by voting against the motion. They wanted black and white proof that chemical weapons had been fired and wanted 100% assurances that these came from Assad. All we have at the moment is a blood stained dark grey.
The use of these chemical weapons would contravene United Nations law, and as a result, Britain would be legitimised to intervene. Legitimacy in front of their Russian and Chinese counterparts at the security council clearly being the key focus rather than any suffering Syrians. The quote by the British doctor implies some sort of moral duty and how we have neglected it by not acting.
British politics looks particularly feeble after last night and I find it hard to question their rational for not supporting a watered down condemnation of chemical warfare. Humanitarian aid has been looted by Assad, UN advisers have been kicked out of the country, if we want to act and stop attacks it is hard to see past some kind of military action.
There are always going to be problems in life and black and white solutions rarely exist. In War & Peace, Tolstoy tried to emphasise how our hindsight judgement rarely correlated to reality; in other words people rarely make decisions to create the legacy of a future consequence but instead they make decisions to deal with a present set of problems. So for Iraq, the decision to go to war was to stop the problem of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. They didn't make the decision to showcase a legacy of smooth government transition. The inadequacy of the Iraqi police force and army wasn't part of the initial problem yet came to help define the war as Britain and the US were unable to pull out till there was a self sufficient structure in place.
Winning in politics is impossible, however you can try and make good decisions. You can act with integrity and have the end in mind. The end in mind for Syria should be enabling the people to find some sense of normality again without the daily fear of survival. After last night, that doesn't look any closer.