MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell reacted to President Barack Obama's case for possible intervention in Syria by looking back at the United States' past use of napalm in wartime.
"The single weakest argument I think I've heard for military intervention in Syria is that death from sarin is a uniquely horrifying form of death -- uniquely inhumane," he said Tuesday night on "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. "But if we're going to get clinical about this there are many forms of death in war that can be more inhumane than sarin gas, which kills within minutes or hours.
Tracing the history of napalm from its development in a Harvard University laboratory to its use against the Germans in World War II, during the Korean War and in Vietnam "by the ton," O'Donnell called napalm "our cheapest weapon of mass destruction."
“Napalm attaches to human flesh in a way that is impossible to remove. But it kills in other ways too…you can be killed by suffocation. You can be killed simply by breathing in carbon monoxide poisoning,” he said.
O'Donnell said there are more "excruciating" ways to die in Syria than by sarin gas.
"Syrians can take days to die from gunshots...Syrians can lose parts of their bodies to a traditional bomb and take days or weeks to die without access to any form of painkiller," he said. "Stab wounds could love you clinging to life in excruciating pain for a much longer time than sarin gas."
"And how do we judge the quality of death in war? By the elapsed time from initial wound to death, by the pain level? I don't think there's a reasonable way to make that evaluation," he said.
O'Donnell referenced Kim Phuc, known as the "napalm girl" from the famous Vietnam War photo, and how she spent more than a year recovering in an American hospital.
"We dropped napalm on her and then we saved her life. And yes, in the madness of war there is in that story some moral superiority over the Assad regime, which would probably never try to save the life of the children they attack," O'Donnell said. "We invented napalm and we've used more of it than anyone else in the world."
Watch full segment, via MSNBC: