AP Photo/Hussein Malla
Although “What’s the Diehl?” is officially on hiatus, I‘m making an exception to write about something that’s bothering me:
I’m angry as I write this.
I was driving home from Anita’s office this morning when I heard an awful report on the radio about a bomb that was dropped on a school playground in northern Syria. According to the BBC, the attack incinerated more than 10 pupils and left many more severely injured. Scores of badly-burned kids and teenagers were overwhelming a local hospital; the radio report included jarring audio of people screaming, crying and begging for help amidst chaos.
The report identified the al-Assad regime as the perpetrator of this truly horrific attack.
I’ve written about al-Assad before. (See “Hello, My Name is Hamza al-Khateeb,” March 4, 2013, and “Israel Helps Syrian Rebels; We Do Nothing,” May 6, 2013.) My May 6 post – which included disturbing photos of dead kids, victims of al-Assad’s government forces – was erroneously interpreted by Facebook commenters as being pro-war even though I ended it with this paragraph:
The United Nations estimates that nearly 70,000 people have been killed in Syria since violence broke out two years ago. Maybe military intervention isn’t the answer. But we ought to do something besides imposing sanctions that hurt civilians more than politicians. While Israel is choosing the rebels over al-Assad, Americans are choosing Nicki Minaj over Mariah Carey on American Idol.
I still don’t know what we should do. Opposition to the U.S. doing anything seems to be growing as I write this which I don’t understand at all. United Nations inspectors are in Syria investigating last week’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus which killed hundreds of civilians; U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the attacks a “moral obscenity." Some see the current saber-rattling as similar to that which culminated in the ill-advised, irresponsible 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The differences are huge, in my inexpert opinion. First of all, there were no weapons of mass destruction found or used in Iraq, right-wingers’ erroneous claims notwithstanding. Secondly, Barack Obama, for all his infuriating failings, is no Dubya; he’s not compelled to launch an unjustified military offensive on a sovereign country because its leader threatened his daddy. And lastly, the suffering of innocent human beings has gone on for years. Syrians have been crying out for help, for world intervention, as their children have been slaughtered and no one’s lifted a finger. (Israel, long a foe of Syria, did act a few months ago to support the rebels who are fighting al-Assad’s brutal regime.) Cue crickets.
A British medic at the hospital in Aleppo was quoted by the BBC as saying, "We feel like some sort of, not even a second class citizen, like we just don't matter. Like all of these children, and all of these people who are being killed and massacred, we don't matter. The whole world has failed our nation and it is innocent civilians who are paying the price."
The school’s headmaster said in the same report, "There were dead people, people burning and people running away, but where to? Where would they go? It is not safe anywhere. That is the fate of the Syrian people."
I know that bombs don’t lead to peace any more than intercourse leads to virginity or watching Fox News leads to an informed viewership. I also know that burying our heads in the sand won’t lead to an end to the genocide.
Sources: BBC, www.thejournal.ie.