It is nearly unimaginable. Nevertheless, The Post reports:
Nearly 93,000 people have been confirmed killed in the conflict in Syria, the United Nations said Thursday, as it warned more bloodshed could be on the way in the northern city of Aleppo, where government troops have massed.
The conflict’s death toll is nearly two-thirds the number killed during neighboring Lebanon’s 15-year-civil war, underscoring the intensity of the violence. While a total of 92,901 killings were documented in the 25-month period to April 2013, the real figure is likely to be much higher, said Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.
The U.S. population is about 15 times the size of Syria’s. In U.S. terms, that would be as if 1.4 million were killed. And yet President Obama cannot bestir himself to do anything, let alone everything, he can, even when a victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would enhance the influence of and embolden both Iran and Hezbollah.
We are not talking about U.S. boots on the ground. We are not even talking about a no-fly zone that would set up a safe refuge for the next 93,000 who would otherwise be killed. The White House is still agonizing over sending arms to non-jihadi rebels.
There is something deeply poignant, and from the U.S. perspective humiliating, in rejecting the pleas of those who want to protect themselves from the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah alliance. The Wall Street Journal reports:
A top Syrian rebel commander has issued a desperate plea for weapons from Western governments to prevent the fall of his forces in Aleppo, pushing the Obama administration to decide quickly whether to agree to arm rebels for the first time or risk the loss of another rebel stronghold just days after the regime’s biggest victory. . . .
When rebels mounted their campaign to capture Aleppo last summer, many of their leaders mistakenly believed that the U.S. was close to offering them arms or to creating a no-fly zone. But proposals to arm the rebels, advocated by then-Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ran into opposition in the White House from Mr. Obama. Now, amid fears the rebels could lose Aleppo, similar proposals to arm the rebels are gaining traction in the White House.
Shows them to trust the words of President Obama. They should have known that his vow to Elie Wiesel to do “everything” we could to help the Syrian people really meant we will do nothing of consequence. Shame on them for believing “game changer” and “red line” meant game changer and red line. (Good thing Obama wasn’t around in in 1941 or he may have dawdled over lend-lease and Britain would have gone under.)
The problem is not merely the president. Now he has comrades in some quarters on the right. But it is curious that the same people rejecting any action on Syria are among the most fervent self-proclaimed Reagan worshipers. Funny though, did Reagan withhold arms from those seeking to end their oppression or prevent their repression in Angola, Central America, South America and Afghanistan (it was “Charlie Wilson’s war,” but also Reagan’s)? After all, the Reagan Doctrine was about helping those to help themselves against communism.
So when those seeking to separate themselves from those dreaded neo-conservatives seeking to preserve America’s role as the scourge of dictators and last, best hope for their opponents, the new isolationists might ruminate on the scope of 93,000 people (and certainly higher since we’ve seen vicious fighting since April) and the slaughters that will ensue because other death-spewing regimes or movements now understand the United States is entirely dismissive of their needs.
These folks on the right don’t like being called isolationists, so how about “fans of American decline” or “enablers of genocide.” But please, please don’t call them Reaganites. He was the one who supported freedom fighters and called evil regimes evil.