The Blog

'Shameful'

The 'Washington Post' takes the Obama administration to task on the Syrian revolt.

2:05 PM, Apr 23, 2011 • By VICTORINO MATUS
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Today's lead editorial in the Washington Post doesn't mince words in its assessment of President Obama's handling of the crisis in Syria.

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 Ambassadors are withdrawn; resolutions are introduced at the U.N. Security Council; international investigations are mounted and sanctions applied.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.... 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.

In its response, "the Obama administration has effectively sided with the regime against the protesters. Rather than repudiate Mr. Assad and take tangible steps to weaken his regime, it has proposed, with increasing implausibility, that his government 'implement meaningful reforms,' as the president’s latest statement put it."

If this were something from Team America, it would be laughable. But it's not. The editorial concludes:

As a practical matter, these considerations are misguided. Even if his massacres allow him to survive in power, Mr. Assad will hardly be a credible partner for Israel. And no matter what happens, Syria will not return to the police-state stability it has known during the past several decades.

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.

Recent Blog Posts