Three years after President Obama erased his “red line” on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Anne Applebaum writes: Maybe a U.S.-British-French intervention would have ended in disaster. If so, we would today be mourning the consequences. But sometimes it’s important to mourn the consequences of nonintervention too. Three years on, we do know, after all, exactly what nonintervention has produced:
Deaths. Estimates of war casualties range from about 155,000 to 400,000, depending on who is counted. This month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had registered a total of 14,711 dead children. Since the Islamic State created its caliphate in Syria, an estimated 2,350 civilians have been executed by the group. Life expectancy in Syria has dropped from almost 80 to 55.
Refugees. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees as of Aug. 16. There are thought to be an additional 2 million refugees who remain inside Syria but are displaced from their homes. Three-quarters of those who have fled their homes are women and children. Most own nothing except what they are wearing. To give some perspective, the refugee crisis caused by the Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s produced 2.3 million refugees, a number then considered to be the worst refugee crisis since the 1940s. The Syrian crisis is three times larger. [Continue reading…]