Say what you will about the moral lapses of American political leaders, but none (I think) tortures children to death.
A few years ago my humanist group hosted a covey of “peace activists” who had visited Syria and had a make-nice sit-down with President Bashar Assad. They thought him a pretty decent fellow. I was nauseated. I wonder what they think now.
You can see a video concerning the torture death of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib here – if you have a strong stomach.
It’s said Assad has now lost all legitimacy. When did he ever have any?
There are two kinds of governments. Legitimate ones are grounded in democratic consent. The others are gangster fiefdoms ruled the same way Al Capone ruled Chicago’s underworld – by shooting inconvenient people. Some, like Russia and China, may be borderline cases which enjoy a sort-of consent and don’t have to kill excessively. Bashar Assad evidently has to kill thousands, including children, deliberately, and to do it with vicious cruelty. (His daddy Hafez killed ten or twenty thou in one city in 1982.)
We must never confuse a nation’s sovereignty with that of a gang that rules by force and terror. Such regimes merit no deference from other nations. They are outlaws with no rights under international law.
Yet again we see in Syria the breathtaking courage of ordinary people. People who are not deterred from going into the streets to protest, knowing full well how many like them have already been remorselessly shot down. Freedom is so appealing an idea that people are willing to lay their lives on the line for it. Who knew? (Well, a large segment of the American intelligentsia seems not to have known.)
Yet again we see the Obama administration disgracefully weak. OK, maybe our hands are full doing Libya. But even the rhetoric is limp. Obama hasn’t even actually said Assad must go. What are we afraid of? “Instability?” Are you kidding me?
It should be the explicit policy of the United States that illegitimate gangster regimes have no place in today’s world. Especially ones that torture children.
* I expect many hits on this blog by people googling this combo of names