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Moving from rhetoric to action on Syria

The Aug. 28 editorial “When massacres are tolerable” rightly pointed out that the prevention of mass atrocities is not merely a matter of acting on moral obligation. It is mandated by Presidential Directive-10, released last August, which elevated atrocity prevention to a core national security priority. 

To move from rhetoric to action, the U.S. government must ensure that heinous war crimes, such as those committed in Darayya, Syria, do not go unpunished. The United States should lead the charge in the U.N. Security Council to act on the findings of the Human Rights Council’s commission and to refer the Syrian regime’s war crimes to the International Criminal Court.

Furthermore, the United States must maintain its efforts to protect civilians fleeing the violence in Syria by supporting Syria’s neighbors who are allowing refugees to cross their borders in accordance with international human rights obligations. The flow of essential humanitarian aid to those affected inside Syria must also remain at the top of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s agenda. 

Sadia Hameed, Washinton

The writer is director of Human Rights First’s crimes against humanity program.

The Aug. 28 editorial on the slaughter in Syria correctly noted that President Obama’s recent statements indicating that the United States considered Syria’s use of nonconventional weapons a “red line” that could prompt a military intervention has seemed to encourage Bashar al-Assad’s regime to continue its massacres using conventional weapons.

Because Mr. Obama has repeatedly showed an inability to lead the world in action, it is no wonder that Syria has felt free to continue its assault on its people. Syria and the rest of the world do not believe that the United States, under the current president, has the courage to act.

It is the same with Iran. Should Mr. Obama win reelection, the Iranians will continue their quest for nuclear weapons, because they will be confident that the United States will sit idly by. This will leave Israel alone to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Unlike Mr. Obama, Israel does believe Iran’s leaders when they speak about destroying Israel.

Sam Charnoff, Potomac

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The editorial noted that President Obama has said it is “a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States” to prevent mass atrocities.

How is it that The Post and so many voters have not realized that what Mr. Obama says and what he does rarely relate to each other? 

Robert E. Rodney, Silver Spring

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