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There’s no good option in Syria. But there’s a way to make Assad pay

英国卫报:叙利亚动武不是一个好选择,但却是让阿萨德付出代价的办法



All-out bombardment is not a solution to the crisis. But nor can we watch the brutal dictator slaughter his own people

全面轰炸不是这场危机的解决之道,但是我们也不能眼看着残酷的独裁者屠杀自己的国民。

We are caught between a rock, in the form of the recklessness of Donald Trump, and a hard place, shaped by the cruelty of Bashar al-Assad. This is the choice that now confronts citizens and their representatives in Britain, France and the US. The reasons to resist signing up for any project led by Trump should be obvious, with the newly published testimony of James Comey, the FBI director he fired, providing a fresh reminder.

特朗普鲁莽的形式和巴沙尔·阿萨德的暴行让我们陷入了两难之境。这是摆在英国、法国以及美国人民和议员面前的一道选择题。拒绝参加任何以特朗普为首的行动,理由应该是显而易见的---被特朗普炒掉的联邦调查局局长詹姆斯·科米新公布出来的证词,就是一个新的提醒。

注释:2017年5月10日,白宫确认特朗普解雇联邦调查局局长詹姆斯·科米。据美媒报道,当时正在调查特朗普“通俄门”的科米被解雇时正在洛杉矶给FBI的雇员演讲,他是从电视新闻中得知自己被解雇的。

Trump is a congenital liar who is devoid of empathy, a narcissist with a nihilist’s view of the world. These are not mere character defects; they have a bearing on the decisions the de facto leader of any action in Syria would take. Among the reasons I opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq was my fundamental distrust of George W Bush and his circle, especially on the matter of motive. Trump, with his tweeted mood swings – first, vowing to withdraw from Syria altogether, then threatening an imminent missile bombardment, then signalling a delay – makes Bush look like a statesman.

特朗普天生就是一个毫无同情心的骗子、一个在世界上目中无人的自恋者。这些不仅仅是性格缺陷,还将影响到这个手握实权的领导人在叙利亚作出的任何行动决定。我持反对态度的其中一个原因是,2003年的伊拉克入侵,尤其是入侵的动机,让我对小布什政府产生了强烈的不信任感。而特朗普,他在推特上的情绪波动,先是承诺要完全撤出叙利亚,而后威胁马上要进行导弹轰炸,再然后表示要推迟行动,他的种种行为使得小布什看起来反而像一个政治家。

But even if a moral paragon were sitting in the Oval Office, there would be grounds for restraint. The record of past western military interventions in the Middle East is bloody and shaming, as the peoples of both Iraq and Libya can testify. Barack Obama, no gung-ho cowboy, was the commander-in-chief in the latter case. And yet what was originally billed as a discrete military action to prevent an impending civilian slaughter in Benghazi escalated into a bombardment that led to regime change and mayhem. It stands as a textbook illustration of western bombs’ ability to make a bad situation worse.

但即使坐在总统办公室里的是一位道德模范,他也会有克制行动的理由。过去西方国家军事干预中东的所作所为既血腥暴力又让人汗颜,这一点伊拉克和利比亚的人民可以作证。贝拉克·奥巴马,不是一个摩拳擦掌的莽夫,而是发动利比亚战争的总司令。然而,原本是号称要阻止班加西(利比亚东北的一个城市)平民被屠杀的一个独立军事行动,到后来升级成炸弹轰炸,致使利比亚政权更迭、局势动乱。利比亚战争成为了教科书插图般的存在,展现了西方炸弹的威力是如何让糟糕的情况变得更加糟糕的。

注释:2011年,美国总统奥巴马对利比亚发动战争,推翻了卡扎菲政权。2016年,奥巴马接受专访时表示:“任内最大的错误应是没有事先为推翻利比亚卡扎菲政权做好规划。”不过,他同时强调,介入利比亚,总的来说仍是一项正确决策。

Those warnings from the past gain extra force in the current case, because standing in the way of any allied operation would not just be Assad, but also the military might of a nuclear superpower. That makes the task this time all the more delicate, for any action would have to avoid triggering a military confrontation with Russia, whose forces are present on the ground and in the air in Syria. The notion of entrusting such a task to a man as reckless as Trump would itself be reckless, criminally so.

历史给出的这些警告在当前情况下获得了更多的支持,因为阻碍联盟行动的不仅仅是阿萨德,还是一个核超级大国的军事力量。这使得此次任务需要更加谨慎,因为任何行动都必须避免引发与俄罗斯的军事冲突。俄罗斯在叙利亚地面和空中都部署着军队。把这样一项任务交给一个像特朗普这样鲁莽的人,这个想法本身就是鲁莽的,也是要负刑事责任的。

The natural response is to steer as fast as we can away from that rock, but before we know it we are crashing into the hard place. The notion of inaction, of standing by and watching as Assad kills and kills and kills, racking up a death toll in Syria of 500,000 and turning millions into refugees – that prospect too should sicken us. And yet that’s what we’ve done. For seven slow years, Assad has been allowed to play butcher, uninterrupted in his work as he cuts down the people of his own country, with barely a hand raised to stop him.

我们本能的反应是尽可能快地避开那块岩石,但在我们还没意识到之前,我们就已经向着岩石撞去了。在一旁眼睁睁看着阿萨德不断地杀人、杀人、杀人,在叙利亚造成50万人死亡,数百万人沦为难民,这种“不作为”的想法也会让我们大为震惊。然而这就是我们所做的。在七年的缓慢岁月里,允许阿萨德扮演着屠夫,在他的任期内不间断地残害本国人民,而且也几乎没有人来阻止他。

For the parent of a murdered Syrian child, the current western focus on the exact method of murder must feel strange. As if Assad was well within his rights to slaughter innocents using regular bombs, and his only offence was to use chlorine or sarin, inflicting a death so painful the footage is unbearable to watch.

对于被杀害的叙利亚孩童的父母来说,现在西方关注的是杀人者使用的具体方法,这是让他们感到古怪的。就好像阿萨德用炸弹屠杀无辜平民是在他的权利范围之内,他唯一的罪行只是使用了氯气或者沙林毒气,让人们死得这么惨而已。

It is indeed strange, but the extra revulsion at the use of chemical weapons is not groundless. 

这确实很古怪,但是我们对使用化学武器并非是平白无故地深恶痛绝。

So this is the spot we find ourselves in, caught between giving a blank cheque to Trump and giving a free pass to Assad. What other options are there?

所以这就是我们发现自己所处的境地,是给特朗普一张空头支票,还是给阿萨德自由权限呢?我们被夹在中间。有其它的选择吗?

Labour calls for the attack on Douma to be “fully investigated”. That sounds unarguable. But then what? But Corbyn greeted that verdict with silence. So unless there’s a plan for action once guilt is established, demanding an investigation sounds a lot like an excuse to do nothing in the hope that soon we’ll all be talking about something else.

英国工党呼吁对杜马袭击进行“全面调查”。这听起来无可厚非。但那又怎样呢?科尔宾对裁决保持沉默。因此,除非犯罪一成立的时候就有一个行动计划,否则要求调查听起来很像一个借口,什么都不做,只希望很快我们会谈论起别的事情。

注释:2018年4月8日,叙利亚东古塔地区的最大城镇杜马(Douma)遭到沙林毒气攻击,造成至少70人丧命。

Besides, how much evidence do we need? Even before Douma, Assad’s use of chemical weapons had been documented seven times this year alone. To all but the most committed denialists and conspiracists, Assad’s guilt is clear. Yet some treat each new attack as if it were the first.

此外,我们还需要多少证据呢?甚至在杜马事件之前,今年阿萨德使用化学武器的记录已经有七次了。除了那些最坚定的否定论者和阴谋论者,所有人都清楚阿萨德的罪行。然而,还是一些人认为每次新的袭击都是第一次发生。

Nor will it do simply to call for diplomatic efforts or a political solution. Calls for talks or investigations might sound like cries for peace: in this context, they are pleas for Assad to be allowed to keep on killing in peace.

人们既没有要求作出外交努力,也没有要求给出一个政治解决方案。呼吁进行对话或者调查可能听起来像是在急着哭喊和平:在这种情况下,对话或调查就是让阿萨德可以在和平中继续杀戮的借口。

In other words, not an all-out bombardment, not an invasion, not regime change, not a re-run of Iraq or Libya. 

换句话说,没有全面轰炸,没有入侵,没有政权的更迭,就没有伊拉克或者利比亚的重生。

Two decades ago, the world watched in horror as slaughter unfolded in the Balkans. In the end, thanks in part to western bombs, the perpetrators were forced to stop the killing and come to the peace table. 

二十年前,世界人民惊恐地看着巴尔干地区发生的大屠杀。最后,事件解决的部分原因是由于西方国家的轰炸,行凶的暴徒被迫停止杀戮,进行和平谈判。

Of course, a bigger memory has eclipsed that one. The deadly cost of Iraq haunts us, as it should. We saw the havoc western action could wreak. Perhaps that was why, five years ago, the House of Commons voted to leave the Assad regime untouched. Back then the death toll in Syria stood at around 100,000. More than 400,000 have died since that day. The proof is there if we can bear to look at it. Inaction, too, can be deadly.

当然,这背后隐藏着更沉重的回忆。伊拉克战争的致命代价一直困扰着我们。我们看到了西方国家的行动可能造成的巨大破坏。也许这就是为什么,在五年前,议会下议院会投票决定不对阿萨德政权进行军事打击。当时叙利亚的死亡人数约为10万人。自那天以来,又有超过40万人死亡。这个证据表明,如果我们能忍受继续旁观下去的话,不作为也可能是致命的。