Washington Post editorial decries “moral bankruptcy” of Obama policy on Syria—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #80 (August 28, 2012)

On August 27 the Washington Post published an editorial regarding U.S. policy on Syria, and the Obama administration’s “stubborn stance of passivity” in the face of the commission of horrendous acts of barbarism.

See Editorial, “Syria’s escalating slaughter,” August 27, 2012.

The Post noted that events such as the massacre last week at Daraya, where over 300 people were reportedly killed, “reflects a deliberate strategy”.

As the Post’s Liz Sly has reported, the Assad regime is seeking to regain control over opposition-held areas by teaching their residents that harboring the rebels will be punished with mass murder. In Daraya, opposition accounts said, government soldiers first drove the forces of the Free Syrian Army from the town with artillery and air attacks, then went house-to-house, rounding up people and shooting them in groups.

The atrocities have resulted in a growing tide of refugees neighboring countries are ill-equipped to handle. On August 30, Turkey is reported to be planning to ask the U.N. Security Council to authorize a “safe zone” for refugees, within Syria.

The Post notes the yawning gap between President Obama’s rhetoric and his administration’s policy on Syria:

Mr. Obama has said that that “preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.” In a speech at the Holocaust Museum in April, he said that “we need to be doing everything we can to prevent and respond to these kinds of atrocities — because national sovereignty is never a license to slaughter your people.” Yet now, as atrocity after atrocity is recorded in Syria, he rejects proposals by aides and allies for even limited and humanitarian intervention. Administration officials reportedly have discussed options for a safe zone, but the president has repeatedly sided with those favoring inaction.

To be sure, Mr. Obama indicated last week that the use or dispersal of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a “red line” which would presumably justify military intervention. But as one Syrian blogger, Ammar Abdulhamid, has written, the drawing of the “red line” may have actually emboldened the Syrian government to act as if nothing short of the use of chemical weapons would draw a U.S. military response.

The editorial concludes,

Mr. Abdulhamid wonders “why slaughter would be deemed tolerable if it happened one way and not another.” It’s a good question — and one for which the administration’s morally bankrupt policy has no answer.

On the moral bankruptcy of the Obama administration’s policy toward Syria, see also these previous articles by The Trenchant Observer:

“Looney Toons” at the White House: New York Times article details Obama’s thinking on Syria—Obama’s Debacle in Syria
— Update #45 (May 27), May 27, 2012.

“The emperor has no clothes”: Foreign policy without a moral core—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #19 (March 29), March 29, 2012.

“Into the Abyss: Washington’s Fecklessness, Syria’s Fate—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #20 (March 30), March 30, 2012.

The Trenchant Observer


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