April 26 2011
The murderous Syrian regime has kicked out the press, though I am wondering if it made an exception for Vogue magazine, which recently did a sick-making puff piece on the chic wife of the Syrian tyrant (see "Why Be an Arbiter of Style When You Can Be a Dictator" and "Family Time in Syria").
William Harris reports on the situation in Syria for the Weekly Standard:
Apart from the warfare in Libya, the casualties in Syria are the highest among the Arab uprisings against autocratic regimes that began in Tunisia in December 2010. It is also plain that murder in Syria is probably on the verge of further escalation, as President Bashar Assad and his lieutenants survey world reaction and see nothing of note. The international community that brandished international justice at Muammar Gaddafi for crimes comparable to those being committed in Syria is virtually mute before Assad. Western media will not show images like that of the twelve-year-old child whose head was half shot away in a massacre of fourteen civilians in the southern Syrian town of Izra'a. If they did, President Obama might feel pressed to do just a little beyond issuing expressions of outrage.
An excellent post on Commentary by John Steele Gordon quotes an AP story that reveals just how much the anti-Israel Syrians hate the dictator:
"Let Obama come and take Syria. Let Israel come and take Syria. Let the Jews come," shouted one Daraa resident over the phone. "Anything is better than Bashar Assad," he said, playing on Syria's hatred for Israel to highlight how much town residents despise their leader.
Will somebody please tell me why the fashionable folk (Vogue, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who called Bashir al-Assad a reformer, though she subsequently withdrew the accolade) persist in looking more favorably towards the Assad regime than do the people who live there? He has long been a darling among dictators, with "idealists" urging the establishment of a U.S. Embassy in Syria (they got their way). Is it the clothes, some hidden ideological affinity missed by me? He's a monster, folks.
The U.S. doesn't have the arms and men (and women) to deploy to aid the rebels in Syria, even if we knew what to do. But we must be ashamed of the moral muddle of U.S. policy. William Harris writes:
It is difficult to think of anything more obstinately counter-intuitive than Barack Obama's reluctance to give up on the Syrian dictatorship and the bankrupt policy of "engagement." Morality, strategic interest, and simple good sense together demand an end to the nonsense about reforming what cannot be reformed; if it survives, the dictatorship will be so blood-soaked that no decent person could "engage" its leadership. On the other hand, a new Syria will mean a new Middle East, with the Iranian theocracy's capability in the Levant dealt a stunning reverse and new prospects for a real Arab-Israeli peace process.
Specifically, what to do? The Syrian people have no desire for any direct external intervention. They do however need some sign of vigorous solidarity from the international community in the face of regime barbarity. The U.S., which has reservations about the ICC and is not a signatory to the Rome statute, has no moral option but to endorse publicly and immediately both regime change in Syria and the just demands of the Syrian protestors for democracy. Britain and France, as signatories of the Rome statute, have a moral duty to sponsor a U.N. Security Council resolution on the model of resolution 1593 of 2005, which referred the Darfur situation to the ICC prosecutor. Such a resolution would invoke Chapter VII of the U.N. charter to back investigation of Bashar Assad and his associates for prospective indictment under international law for crimes against humanity.
If Assad survives, I propose that Vogue editor Anna Wintour be posted as U.S. ambassador to Syria. Bloody chic, if you ask me.