Herald calls out Labour for limp Syria response

The Herald editorial:

Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons poison and kill indiscriminately, as distinct from weapons that can be precisely used against military targets. That is why weapons of mass destruction have been proscribed and powerful civilised nations must ensure any use of them is effectively punished. The only question arising from the punitive strike at Syria’s regime at the weekend is, will it be effective? …

Russia and its client regime may be able to ignore the latest “message” just as they did the previous responses, but it is nevertheless vital that the world does respond in this way. Ideally, the United Nations would have the cohesion and strength to deal a punitive blow to any country that uses a chemical weapon against another or against its own people. But in the real world, the use of these weapons has to be punished by those who possess the necessary principles and power.

The US could perform this role alone if it had to. This time it has had the active military support of Britain and France and the moral support of other Western allies. Sadly, it is not clear whether New Zealand is among them. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed regret that the UN is hamstrung and “accepts” the US, France and Britain have taken action. “Accepts” is not exactly support.

Her Government should unequivocally support the message that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity. To let these weapons go unpunished would be dangerous for us all.

The Government’s position is hopelessly confused. They claim that one must act in accordance with international law, but don’t support any action taken against Syria for breaching international law unless Russia agrees with it.

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