As a country, we have shirked this challenge. We have ran and hid from that bully Assad, far away from his Sarin strikes, and his blatant disregard for both human life and the tenements of International Law. We should not be running scared, we have both the means and the morality to stop him in his evil re-conquest of a former fiefdom.
The last week has certainly been a milestone in British politics for a number of reasons. They include the redefined nature of the United Kingdom's relationship with the United States; the re-emergence of Ed Miliband in dramatic form; the shattering of David Cameron's political reputation for authority which he enjoyed building over summer; and of course the game changing vote in the Commons. When taken together the set the scene for an unexpectedly new chapter in the life of this Parliament.
For me the solution seems clear cut, military action must be taken to stop the Assad regime destroying Syria and its citizens, literally. We cannot end up with another situation like Rwanda where in the eyes of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the world could not bring itself to act. That must not be allowed to happen again.
The anti-intervention left and right have totally given up on the idea of the most powerful countries in the world being able to have any positive effect upon the world at large. In addition the anti-war movement claims to be on the side of peace, as if we occupy a world created by Disney, where the world is a simple choice between peace and war.
There are millions of ways a politician can shoot his or herself in the foot. Perhaps she gets too easily distracted, and fails to show up for hearings. Or maybe he abstains from key votes, and tweets crotch-shots to impressionable teens. Well, Labour's shadow transport minister, Jim Fiztpatrick, has taken political absurdity to new heights...
Obama sees Syria as one of the definitions of his presidency. But Syria is the battleground for a 21st Century proxy war. Iran, Saudi Arabia, many major players are there. And there is something else: Obama can't afford to do a 'W' and go in with all guns blazing. The president's past, steeped in vociferous opposition of the Iraq War, won't allow it.
There is a rare neurological disorder called The Capgras Delusion, whereby the patient thinks that their friends, family and close acquaintances have been replaced by impostors. My Capgrasian Delusion has come in the form of patrial distrust: has the noble United Kingdom been replaced by oil-hungry doppelgangers puppeteered by thick strings from across the pond? Who in this case is the liar - the West or Syria?
War, twerking, the poor and their big screen TVs... nothing was off the agenda as summer drew to a close. Let us start with the serious. Countries going to war, in their own backyard or further afield, deserve debate. David Cameron may be ruing the day he decided that that debate extended to a free vote in the Commons. However, 'the heir to Blair' (as news organisations, ourselves included, labeled the PM this week), may also be wiping his brow that the anti-war marches Blair himself had to witness, will not haunt his legacy.
The vote in the recalled House of Commons on Syria will not stop the brutal regime in that country murdering its own people; it will encourage them to press on. The vote will not silence the screams of Assad's victims, like those targeted in the recent napalm style attack near a school at Urum al Kubra, close to Aleppo...
Last night's remarkable scenes at Westminster will make precious little difference to the people of Syria. Cruise missiles will still fall on some carefully selected military sites in the coming days - the only difference will be that none of them will be British. The key question remains what it was before David Cameron's dramatic defeat in the House of Commons: what is the best policy to adopt in the light of the ever-increasing horror of the war in Syria?
There is no ultimate victory in any of this. Why? - Here are two out of many reasons: First, because the effects of punishment on other peoples' behaviour are unpredictable in comparison to the effects of reward. This is why smacking kids is much less effective at shaping their behaviour than rewarding them.