The outrages in Syria have gone on long enough. The Los Angeles Times reported the Syrian regime's latest crimes in Latakia: civilians have been herded into stadiums, their ID and cell phones taken from them, in advance of the military's leveling of their neighborhoods. Amidst shelling from land and sea and the slaughter of innocents, Latakians are being stripped of their homes as easily as their freedom.
We Americans have fought two unnecessary, unjust wars in this past decade over far less than the injustice that the world has witnessed in Syria these past months. And yet our government, paralyzed at home and entangled in Afghanistan and Iraq though it may be, has little but "strong words" of condemnation.
Though I do not advocate unilateral military action by the United States, I expect more than what the Obama administration has done thus far. The United States has managed no visible results through the United Nations, whose sole reaction to months of human rights abuses has been tsk-tsking barely audible across the East River in New York City. Three months have passed since the Human Rights Council condemned the violence in Syria (but, at no surprise, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Gabon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, and the Russia, those esteemed paragons of human rights, voted against the measure). Nothing has been done since and the bodies keep piling up. At least the UNRWA posted an article expressing its "grave concern" on its homepage.
If Israel were the country culling unruly citizens, uprooting Palestinian refugees from their homes (as Syria is now doing), or arresting protesters by the thousands, the international community would be outraged and the UN and its agencies would not stand idly. A hue and cry the likes of which has only been heard from Glenn Beck the last time Obama was seen golfing would emanate from deep in the bowels of every UN office worker until it was heard around the globe.
This double standard is unacceptable yet goes on every day while innocents die. The UN Human Rights Council cries crocodile tears and whimpers like an attention-seeking puppy about the plight of Palestinians in Gaza while Syrians protesting for their freedom are cut down like curs. To quote the late George Carlin, "Something is fucked up. Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. " And all the while the UN stands tongue-tied and hand-bound.
All the while, the most impressive show has been made by Turkey, who has not only let in thousands of refugees along Syrians northern border but has issued a chilling ultimatum: "This is our final word to the Syrian authorities: Our first expectation is that these operations stop immediately and unconditionally. If the operations do not end, there would be nothing more to discuss about steps that would be taken." Would Turkey act independently? Whether or not it will, the Republic of Turkey has been the only government to suggest real action against Assad.
If the Obama administration is unwilling or unable to act in Syria, it should do more at the UN to see something done to stop the madmen in Damascus. The lame-duck, politicized, hijacked, corrupt, and self-interested United Nation needs more than just American funds, it needs American leadership. Otherwise it's clear where Congress should make its next budget cuts.