Saturday June 28, 2014
For over three years, the United States has sought to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by supporting an Al Qaeda-infused opposition that Washington either knew or should have known would fail. Yet, in his commencement address at West Point on Wednesday, President Obama promised the American people and the rest of the world more of the same.
Obama’s vague pledge to “ramp up” support for selected oppositionists is a craven sop to those claiming that U.S. backing for the opposition so far—nonlethal aid, training opposition fighters, coordination with other countries openly providing lethal aid, and high-level political backing (including three years of public demands from Obama that Assad “must go”)—has been inadequate, and that Assad could be removed if only America would do more. This claim should be decisively rejected as a basis for policy making, rather than disingenuously humored, for it is dangerously detached from reality.
All civil wars are bloody and cruel, but Syria’s strife has reached new extremes of violence and mass civilian suffering as the US and Saudi Arabia use this once beautiful, bountiful nation as a proxy battleground against Iran.
I extensively covered Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war; its ghastly memory still makes me shudder. In the 14 wars I’ve reported on, Lebanon holds top ranking for barbarity and sadism. One friend of mine, the owner of women’s boutiques, became a paramilitary Rambo and went from selling perfume to cutting off and collecting the ears of Muslims.
A similar madness has descendent on Syria as its many ethnic and religious groups tear one another’s throats. Syria’s 630,000 Palestinian refugees have suffered frightfully, caught between the warring parties.