Guilt is fashionable in our pampered society, particularly at this indulgent time of the year.
It's the safest of intellectual retreats. Asserting it at the dinner table guarantees solemn, affirming nods, before someone offers to top up everybody's Cabernet.
At the moment, the most powerful guilt-inducer is Syria.
"Aleppo has fallen and so has humanity," read the headline on a chastisement in the National Post by my old friend and colleague Terry Glavin. "We are disgraced."
Glavin is a skilled polemicist. He lists the unquestionable crimes of the regime in Damascus and its Russian accomplices: deployment of chlorine gas, indiscriminate bombardments, barrel bombs, starvation sieges, targeting of hospitals, rape as a weapon of war.
And he quotes Syrian activist Abdulkafi al-Hamdo's ghastly, beseeching social media posts, condemning the United Nations and the international community for its venal indifference to Aleppo's passion.
"There is no plausible defence any of us can mount against al-Hambdo's plainspoken indictment," writes Glavin, castigating us all for not "commanding our elected leaders" to free Syrians from their tormentors.
He offers a stinging summation of the argument against military intervention: "You know, quagmire and all that."
Well, yes. Quagmire is one way of putting it.
Here's another: Syrians are slaughtering Syrians in Syria. It's evil, and impossibly sad. Bashar al-Assad, the goofy-looking, London-educated ophthalmologist, is now a member of the war criminal pantheon.
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