We can scarcely bear to look at the pictures of Syrian children, women, and men killed with chemical weapons, presumably by their own government. Yet it seems there is no sane, sure response. Should the U.S. invade? American troops and the public are exhausted by more than 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Merely drop bombs? Beyond the horror of killing more Syrian people, we could be lighting off an uncontrolled fire storm, involving Russian, Israel, Iran, and much of the volatile Middle East. Indeed, there are no good military choices.
We do have another option: to save lives and create good will by channeling our money and energy into humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees — 1.9 million in neighboring countries and 4.25 million internally. It won’t be as dramatic or viscerally satisfying as shooting off missiles, but in healing wounds, feeding the hungry, and rebuilding lives Americans will be giving our best and most effective answer to this warring madness.