I looked up from my desk, and a wave of nausea and anger washed over me as a I saw the body of a little girl in a party dress. The images were twinned to a UN report that alleges 1,000 children were killed in Syria last year, largely by the regime, and that kids had also been subjected to sexual assaults and torture by security forces.
But then I started thinking. How often had I seen on CNN the broken bodies of children killed in Iraq during the US occupation, or by NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan, or by drone strikes in Pakistan? The answer I came up with from my own recollections was "never." I asked around the newsroom, and most folks there agreed.
The point is not to draw equivalencies, but simply to point out the implied argument made by the unusual choice to show these murdered kids: A special horror is unfolding in Syria, and the world (read, the US) must do something to stop it.
Perhaps the world should. But far less explored are the practicalities of military intervention, the risks that horrors as great or greater await by widening Syria's civil war into an international conflict. For now, a simple narrative is being spun of a depraved Assad and his helpless victims. Serving that cause yesterday were claims from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Russia was rushing deliveries of attack helicopters to Assad's army "which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."