Over at Contentions, the sagacious Max Boot goes to the tape emanating from Syria:
A friend sent me a link to this clip on YouTube, which apparently shows Syrian security forces shooting down peaceful demonstrators. It takes a strong stomach to watch this–it is not for the faint of heart. The sights of protesters, some of them little more than children, awash in blood is beyond revolting. I admit that I stopped watching about halfway through when I saw images of a man with the lower half of his face shot away. Yes, this is horrible stuff: be warned. There is a big difference between seeing Hollywood special effects and seeing the real thing.
But it is worth seeing at least a few seconds to get a flavor of what is going on in Syria. What makes it truly wrenching is that all the way the people are shouting “Salmiyeh,” which, my friend tells me, is Arabic for “peaceful.” It’s a way of calling, “We are peaceful” or “We are unarmed.” But of course Bashar Assad’s goons don’t care about that. Imagine the kind of monsters who open fire on peaceful demonstrators.
Given that the U.S. launched a military intervention in Libya to prevent such slaughter from occurring in Benghazi, what, I wonder, will we do about these atrocities in Syria where more than a hundred people have been killed in this weekend alone? Again no one is advocating military intervention, but why aren’t we leading an international push to sanction the Assad regime, to freeze its assets, and to bring war crimes charges against its leaders? Why, at the very least, aren’t we recalling our ambassador from Damascus? How can President Obama champion the rights of Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans–and turn his back on the people of Syria who are in open revolt against one of the region’s most anti-American dictators? Perhaps if the president watches this video clip, he will be spurred into action.
Here is the video.
Consider that the government of Syria is Iran’s strategic ally. That it is the proud host of Hamas and Hezbollah and a state sponsor of terrorism. Consider further that the government of Syria is a sworn enemy of the United States, responsible for the death and maiming of many Americans.
Consider also the role of the government of Syria in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in Beirut in 2005. You know, the assassination that prompted President Bush to withdraw the American ambassador to Syria. Consider the fact that butchery is a key element of the Assad family business.
Consider that President Obama restored the American ambassador to Syria with a recess appointment, and that the American ambassador to Syria remains ensconced in the American embassy in Damascus today. And, oh, yes, he is proving his worth on the job. He has just issued a travel warning. Things are a little intense in Syria right now.
Somehow, “If only Obama knew!” doesn’t quite do justice to the case.