The war in Iraq was misconceived from the start, because it was an attempt to avenge the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by invading and occupying a country that had no part in them. Obama’s proposal to strike Syria, by contrast, is an attempt to enforce an important human-rights norm by directly punishing — through means that do not involve invasion and occupation — those who committed a gross violation. It restores human rights to the central place in US foreign policy set forth after Sept. 11, 1973.
Aryeh Neier is president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations and a founder of Human Rights Watch.
Copyright: Project Syndicate