has left me and many of my colleagues in stunned disbelief. Oh yes, many people believed that chemical weapons were still available. There can be no doubt that at least some of Iraq's WMD's were smuggled across the border into Syria and stored there. Saddam Hussein had no intention of giving them up - any more than Assad has now.
And yes, some people expected that they could be used - just not in the time and the place that they were used. And yes again, there were opponents of Assad in the area which was targetted.
That doesn't matter. What matters is that the gas was used, used in contravention of the law and in contravention of everything that is good, loving, caring, and decent. It was used against civilians who simply want the war to stop and for life to go back to something resembling some sort of "normality". It was used against children who were too young to even understand and will now never grow up.
"We don't have what we need to help them," I was told immediately after the attack.
Then I was told that again, and again.
"It was too late to help them..."
"How can you explain to someone what this is?"
"Poison" seems so inadequate. It's more than that. It is unspeakably vile and evil.
Yesterday a neighbour brought over her three year old for a short visit. The Senior Cat had promised to pass on a set of building blocks. It's a lovely set and will make a good toy for a very long time. Nobody has used it for several years and he would like T... to be able to use it. It's a construction toy with high play value.
T....sat on the floor and built houses while we talked. When it was time to go he didn't want to dismantle his houses. It took some persuasion. He eventually understood that he could make them again at home and packed the blocks into their box.
As he left he told me he was going to make the houses again. I thought of the small children in Syria and wished that was all they needed to worry about.