Matt Continetti, writing for the Washington Free Beacon:
Elie Wiesel had a question for Barack Obama. The author, a survivor of Auschwitz, was accompanying the president on a tour of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on April 23. As they passed through an exhibit detailing the U.S. government’s denial of refuge to Jews fleeing the Nazi empire, Wiesel asked Obama, “What would you do?” Afterward, in public remarks, Obama did not mention his answer. But he did say, when confronted by atrocities, “You don’t just count on officials, you don’t just count on governments. You count on people—and mobilizing their consciences.”
After the barbaric events of last week in the Syrian village of Houla, where government troops massacred more than a hundred women and children, Obama’s words sound hollow. And the initiative he announced that day seems like a slap in the face.
Obama used his visit to the Holocaust Museum to remind the world that on August 4, 2011, he issued a “Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities” that ordered the creation of “an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board” to “coordinate a whole of government approach to preventing mass atrocities and genocide.” The first task of this board would be a thorough “interagency review” to “develop and recommend the membership, mandate, structure, operational protocols, authorities, and support necessary for the Atrocities Prevention Board to coordinate and develop atrocity prevention and response policy.” The National Security Council’s staff director for War Crimes and Atrocities, a human rights attorney who once served as George Clooney’s “full time human-rights adviser,” would supervise the review.
Forget health care rationing. This toothless parody of bureaucracy is the real “death panel”—a collection of titleholders that stands by in the face of mass murder. Its job is to “help the U.S government identify and address atrocity threats,” in the midst of one of the worst “atrocity threats” in recent memory. When asked Wednesday if the Atrocities Prevention Board has even met to discuss Syria, White House press secretary Jay Carney could only say, “I don’t know the answer to that.” Maybe the board is still busy conducting its interagency review.
Whole thing here.