by William Teach | April 23, 2011 8:31 am
There are many differing reports on the death toll during yesterdays protest in Syria. The BBC pegs it the highest
At least 72 protesters have been killed by security forces in Syria, rights groups say – the highest reported death toll in five weeks of unrest there.
Demonstrators were shot, witnesses say, as thousands rallied across the country, a day after a decades-long state of emergency was lifted.
The Washington Post editorial board has decided that this is shameful for the US and the Obama administration, yet, they refuse to specifically call out Mr. Obama. Were Bush sitting in the Big Chair, think they would have blamed him solely?
FOR THE PAST five weeks, growing numbers of Syrians have been gathering in cities and towns across the country to demand political freedom – and the security forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad have been responding by opening fire on them. According to Syrian human rights groups, more than 220 people had been killed by Friday. And Friday may have been the worst day yet: According to Western news organizations, which mostly have had to gather information from outside the country, at least 75 people were gunned down in places that included the suburbs of Damascus, the city of Homs and a village near the southern town of Daraa, where the protests began.
Massacres on this scale usually prompt a strong response from Western democracies, as they should. Ambassadors are withdrawn; resolutions are introduced at the U.N. Security Council; international investigations are mounted and sanctions applied. In Syria’s case, none of this has happened. The Obama administration has denounced the violence – a presidential statement called Friday’s acts of repression “outrageous” – but otherwise remained passive. Even the ambassador it dispatched to Damascus during a congressional recess last year remains on post.
The administration has sat on its hands despite the fact that the Assad regime is one of the most implacable U.S. adversaries in the Middle East. It is Iran’s closest ally; it supplies Iranian weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip for use against Israel. Since 2003 it has helped thousands of jihadists from across the Arab world travel to Iraq to attack American soldiers. It sought to build a secret nuclear reactor with the help of North Korea and destabilized the pro-Western government of neighboring Lebanon by sponsoring a series of assassinations.
Of course, that kind of language from people who are on the far left and were some of the primary cheerleaders for Obama is the media equivalent of pulling out the leather belt for a good butt smacking. And it was obviously very hard for the WP board to not notice that Obama is pulling his typical disappearing act on yet another international issue (he tends to do the same on domestic issues, as well).
As a moral matter, the stance of the United States is shameful. To stand by passively while hundreds of people seeking freedom are gunned down by their government makes a mockery of the U.S. commitment to human rights. In recent months President Obama has pledged repeatedly that he would support the aspiration of Arabs for greater freedom. In Syria, he has not kept his word.
Hey, folks, it is not the stance of the USA: it is the stance of President Obama.
But, then, do we really know who these protesters are? What they truly want? Do they want a true Western style democracy, or one where terrorist groups are involved in the Democratic process, such as in the Palestinian areas, where Hamas is a part of the government? Is the Muslim Brotherhood and their offshoots involved, like in Egypt? Or Al Qaeda, as in Libya? Do they want Constitutional Law, or Sharia Law? Would one dictatorial and brutal regime be replaced with an Islamist regime? So far, none of these uprisings have resulted in a democratic system. And by the same token, Obama and his administration have sat on their hands, typically getting involved late in the game, if at all.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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