History is filled with defining moments whether we seize them or not. How we respond to the recent use of sarin gas in Syria is one of them. We often let these moments slip into the annals of "unfortunate" history; our failure to address the use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War; their use in the Vietnam War; World War I. In this respect, the "free world" and authoritarian regimes share the same painful, blood-soaked past.
In 1992, in a rare moment of collective accountability, the world agreed to outlaw the use of chemical weapons. Despite this, their use in Syria has mustered little more than harsh words and saber rattling. Remembering our mistakes, America needs to serve as an example and move beyond verbal reprisal. President Obama's push for a military response is the necessary and moral answer. No war is good, nor should it be welcomed. But deterrence against future war crimes is the only conscientious choice.
With two debacles only barely behind us we should be hesitant of conflict. But this is not Iraq or Afghanistan. This is not a troop surge, or a war on terrorism. It is humanitarian. The administration's record on Syria speaks to its intention. Not another war to nowhere, but a strategic strike designed to stop future abuse. This attack is the latest of three, and without a response more could follow. We need to embrace responsibility and act.