Reuters (Beirut)–”This morning U.N. military and civilian observers went to Houla and counted more than 32 children under the age of 10 and over 60 adults killed,” the head of U.N. team monitoring the ceasefire – which has yet to take hold – said.
Reuters has reported on more of the chilling details of the massacre at Houla, quoting Major General Robert Mood, the head of the UNSMIS monitor mission in Syria, as follows:
(Reuters) – The United Nations said on Saturday that more than 92 people were killed in what activists described as an artillery barrage by government forces in the worst violence since the start of a U.N. peace plan to slow the flow of blood in Syria’s uprising.
The bloodied bodies of children, some with their skulls split open, were shown in footage posted to YouTube purporting to show the victims of the shelling in the central town of Houla on Friday. The sound of wailing filled the room.
The carnage underlined just how far Syria is from any negotiated path out of the 14-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
“This morning U.N. military and civilian observers went to Houla and counted more than 32 children under the age of 10 and over 60 adults killed,” the head of U.N. team monitoring the ceasefire – which has yet to take hold – said.
“The observers confirmed from examination of ordinances the use of artillery tank shells,” Major General Robert Mood said in a statement, without elaborating. “Whoever started, whoever responded and whoever carried out this deplorable act of violence should be held responsible.
–Joseph Logan (Beirut), “U.N. says over 92 killed in Syria, 32 of them children,” Reuters, May 26, 2012 (5:15 p.m. EDT)..”
What will move the international community, or one or two leading nations, to act? That is the question. The foreign ministers of the U.K. and France are reported to be pushing for action.
The events in Syria are the shame of the world.
This shame is far greater, by orders of magnitude, for countries like the United States which have had the power to act but have failed to do so, because President Obama doesn’t want to get involved in Syria before the presidential elections, “regardless of the consequences”.
Well, these are the consequences.
The country which led the victorious struggle against Nazism in Europe and Japanese imperialism in Asia during World War II, from 1941-1945, refuses to act openly to halt the crimes against humanity and war crimes that are being committed every day in Syria.
Surely, this is one of the darkest pages in America’s history.
The only hope for Syria’s people and the international community is that leadership may emerge from some other quarter, from some country other than the United States. As we wrote at a critical turning point in the Libyan conflict, when the U.S. was looking away in a manner similar to the way it is looking away from Syria today,
Today (March 10, 2011) is a sad day for the Observer, as America abdicates its moral leadership in world affairs by adopting the role of mere spectator of the life-and-death struggle for freedom in Libya. Having boldly stated that Qaddafi has to go, President Obama has now taken to the sidelines as Moammar Qaddafi’s murderous regime commits torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in its no-holds-barred battle to retain power.
President Obama, timorous, a prisoner of his own intellectual analytics and lack of prior foreign policy experience, doesn’t take sides when it comes time to act in the struggle for freedom around the world.
It is a sad day not only for the Observer, but also for all of those around the world who believe American foreign policy should be guided by more than 19th century Realpolitik and Staatsräson (Reason of State), for all those who are attracted to the ideals embodied in the American Revolution and America’s two centuries of constitutional government under the rule of law.
For days, the administration has been signaling its unwillingness to act….
History may well mark the month of March, 2011 as the decisive turning point in America’s leadership in world affairs. America has always been more than a state pursuing its self-interests. That era now seems past, at least under Democratic presidential leadership.
The world will take note. Tyrants will relax. As Qaddafi loudly proclaims, they have nothing to fear from the United States, NATO or the United Nations.
Without American leadership, the world will go adrift. The consequences are likely to be enormous and unpredictable.
Despite its cynical record of dealings with dictatorships in the past, it is now to France, that other beacon of human liberty–since the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the defeat of Fascism in 1945 (made possible only with American help), that advocates of democracy and freedom must look.
If America does not want to be a champion of liberty, at least the French, drawing on their own deep traditions, have a possibility of articulating a clear moral vision that might guide us forward toward achievement of the goals of democracy and the rule of law which so many have fought for, at such great sacrifice, for over 70 years.
One of the saddest vignettes from the last few days has been President Obama’s intellectually arrogant and factually incorrect declaration that most revolutions succeed because they come from within and do not rely on outside help. That would come as quite a surprise to George Washington and the Marquis de la Fayette.
–The Trenchant Observer, “Libya—America Abdicates Global Leadership in Struggle for Democracy,” March 10, 2011.
In addition to France, a second beacon of human liberty, throughout the centuries, has been Great Britain.
It is now to France and to Great Britain, and perhaps to some other country that wants to assume the mantle of leadership in the struggle for liberty in the world, that we must look for leadership to stop the atrocities in Syria, and to open a path toward a transition to democracy in that country.
The Trenchant Observer
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