Sunday, March 18, 2012

Praise and Blame

Kudos to George Clooney for appearing on Fox News Sunday this morning in order to bring attention to the plight of non-combatant civilians in Sudan. Good show first of all that the ├╝ber liberal Clooney would appear on Fox, which is typically a whipping boy of committed leftists, even better that he's calling attention to the hardships of innocent civilians in a corner of the world that few people care about. To our mind, Clooney is a fair-minded liberal of the sort that one can have constructive dialogue with, not one of the all-too-common type today for whom power is everything and who therefore are willing to stoop to any tactics to achieve their goals.

No kudos whatsoever to President Obama for his response to another place in which non-combatant civilians are being ground beneath the authoritarian boot in the worst tradition of the twentieth century: Syria. We have discussed before the odd fact that when the Arab spring came to regimes friendly or responsive to the United States, the President lent both moral and material support to those who overthrew those regimes, while in places like Iran and Syria, with regimes hostile to the United States, he says as little as he can get away with. Not being conspiracy theorists, we don't charge the President here with a hidden agenda, but we do think that he ought to speak out against tyranny where freedom has a serious chance of replacing it. President Obama's virtual silence two years ago during the uprisings in Tehran was shameful; equally shameful is his lack of vigorous response to the rebellion in Syria. The people of Syria are worthy of immense respect for their dogged resistance in the face of overwhelming firepower. Even two months ago their cause seemed hopeless, which alone earns them the respect of freedom loving people everywhere. Now, with no help from the United States, the rebels appear to have a significant chance of overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. (According to the Washington Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera this week, Assad seems to have lost politically, and the sense in Syria is that he will be leaving.) That the United States appears indifferent to their heroic and inspiring attempt at freedom is a terrible thing which can only damage our reputation as the friend of freedom everywhere in the world.

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