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Opinion

Opinion

Action on Syria

February 15, 2012

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To the editor:

We have been following, with great interest, the events in Syria and the bombardment of Homs and other cities by the dictator of that renegade country, Bashar Al-Assad. Like his father, he is killing thousands to keep himself in power. He calls the opposition “terrorists from outside of Syria” to justify killing so many.  He is supported by Iran, Russia and China, who oppose any peace plan. Here is the “axis of evil.”

To stop them the world has to band together and refuse their exports, their pleading for more wheat or staples from us. This axis of evil is supporting the destruction of thousands of years of history in that part of the world and will continue to do so until someone can stand up to China and Russia and declare a stop to this. It may already be too late to stop Assad, but he can be replaced with democratic leadership and turn that beautiful country into a friend to the world.

Our “friendship” and support of Russia have allowed them to eat the grain we furnish them, to continue to build their economy and to support their people, but the backing of Assad should change our position and they should be denied the staples we provide them. The love of Chinese products has changed that country into one that has potential to be an ally of the West, but when it supports this kind of mass killing, it is time to say “no, stop it now.”

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

"he (Bashar Al-Assad) can be replaced with democratic leadership and turn that beautiful country into a friend to the world."

I wonder what kind of drugs you have. May I have some?

Abdu Omar 2 years, 10 months ago

Well, Ron, have you ever been to Syria? I have, passed through there on a vacation not long ago. This is a rich and beautiful country and I think Omar is 100% right. It isn't a waste land like the areas South of Syria (excluding Lebanon) and it harbors beautiful vineyards, grove after grove of olive trees, and one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world, but it is ruled by an iron fist. The Syrian people cannot breathe and when they do, they are killed immediately. This is very unfortunate and the world has to help stop the killing.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

I think what Ron was suggesting is that there is no reason to believe that should Assad fall, democracy is what will replace him.
In my opinion, democracy is a process, something that has to have a foundation in place and then be nurtured. While we In America like to think that our democracy is the best, the fact is that it's been an evolving process. And that process began decades prior to 1776. Syria's history is nothing like our history just prior to our revolution. Therefore, there is little reason to believe that democracy is the likely outcome of this revolution. As far as Syria being a beautiful place, I'll take your word for it.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Also, our democracy could be improved greatly.

I've heard that the international organization that certifies "free and fair" elections wouldn't certify ours that way.

That's just one example, of course.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

Why wouldn't an international organization certify our elections as free and fair? I was speaking to an Aussie friend a while back. He said a person could receive a monetary fine if they didn't vote. Maybe because our elections produce low voter turnouts it wouldn't be certified. Maybe because we don't have a national holiday to vote. Maybe because it's held on Tuesdays, a traditional working day. I could speculate all day.
Maybe the organization polled the voters and found they were so uninformed of the issues, they shouldn't have been allowed to vote. After all, look who we keep electing. Seriously, though, I wouldn't mind listening to what they have to say. But as I said in my post above, each country has it's own history and either accepts or rejects democracy, or parts thereof, according to that history. Our democracy need not mirror the democracy in other countries, nor must they mirror ours. Expecting Syria to move from what it is now to democracy may or may not be a reasonable expectation.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I'd have to look it up.

The point remains that we don't even live up to the standards we expect other nations to live up to.

Before we get on that high horse of believing we're the best, we should get our own act more together.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

Jafs, You've mentioned some (un-named) international organization that has some (un-defined) standards and you're immediately willing to defer to their judgement about how democracy should or should not be conducted here.
Why defer to them? Why can't we look at what they have to say, change if WE choose, or don't change if WE choose. What makes them automatically right and us automatically wrong?

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Go ahead, look it up.

Then tell me what you disagree with, if you find anything.

If our only standard of how to structure our society is our own opinion, what justifies our belief that we are the best?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

It's like asking what's your favorite color. There is no right or wrong answer.
An "A" type democracy might be best for country "X" while a "B" type democracy might be best for country "Z". Let me give you an example. Every county in every state has the right to choose the voting machine of it's choosing. We saw this clearly in Florida in 2000. Dade County had a choice of machines some time prior to the election. They chose a stye that had a 1% error rate. They had the option of getting a machine that had half the error rate but it cost more. They chose the cheaper one. Wise decision? I have no idea because I don't know how much money they had and I don't know a million other things. What I do know is that the reason every county makes these decisions is because our history is one of mistrust of a large Federal government. That goes back to 1776, and probably beyond. It's why we object to Obama-care. It's why we make education decisions on a local level. Same with welfare. It's a distrust of Washington. Whether or not you agree, whether or not you like the outcomes, that's our history. Now, if some international agency came in and said it would be better if we had uniform voting machines, they may be right. But it's not who we are. It might be good for England or Sweden, countries that did not have violent revolutions against monarchs. They slowly and peacefully transitioned away from the rule of monarchs. Uniform machines might be right for them, but not us.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Well, that's a fascinating example you give.

Uniform voting machines that count the votes accurately are clearly and unambiguously a good idea to me.

The fact that some may not want them, for whatever reasons, doesn't change that fact.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

Lots of things sound good, until you contemplate implementing them. Why not eliminate "states". Why 50 governors, 50 legislatures, 50 depts. of everything. The bureaucracy would be slashed all at once. But as I said, that's not our history. Our history is of being suspicious of a large, powerful federal government. A government that would be dependent on how you vote while at the same time telling you what machines to use, telling you how to count the votes, telling you all sorts of things. The potential for abuse far outweighs any benefit you might get from uniformity (while leaving out accuracy, because with millions of ballots, an absolutely accurate system is impossible).

parrothead8 2 years, 10 months ago

Wait a minute...you give information you "think" is right from a source with no name, then tell someone else to look it up when they ask you for clarification? Uh-uh. That's not how it works.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

No, wounded_soldier, I have not been to Syria. But a friend of mine is half Syrian, his mother grew up there. I don't doubt that in nature it is a very beautiful county, because after all it is close to the Mediterranean, which is a fabulous part of the world.

But there is a problem in that you are certainly correct in your assessment of the political situation there.

My friend that is half Syrian told me everything I need to know in order to make a decision about whether to ever visit there. I posted here on LJWorld.com on February 7, 2012 and repeated what he told me. It is a rather interesting story about Syria, and especially so considering that it was told by someone that is half Syrian, and was experienced by someone that is half Syrian.

This is a clip and paste of most of that posting, from here: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/feb...

I have a friend whose mother is Syrian, she grew up in Syria, and about the most polite way to put it was that she was extremely unflattering about her first nationality, was certainly never going to go back, and would never even consider doing such a thing.

And then,,, My friend's brother just had to go to Syria, talked about it a lot, his mother could not talk him out of it, and so once he was old enough to do so and had the money, he went to visit Syria.

I didn't hear him say it myself, I only heard his brother quote what he said before he left while laughing about it. It went something like this: 'I'm 1/2 Syrian, so it will be just fine.'

And so, after talking about going to Syria for years, he finally went to visit the country where his mother had been born and grown up.

As I understand the situation, it went fine for the first few days. But then, he turned a corner, and started walking down the street.

Gunfire erupted, there were bullets flying everywhere, and so he started running.

He packed real fast, took the next flight back to the USA, and never considered going back to Syria again, even though he had been talking about how wonderful it surely must be there for years.

And what my friend had to say went something like this: "The only time the Arabs aren't fighting each other is when they're fighting the Jews." I did hear him say that.

And, he is 1/2 Syrian himself.

So, the Western nations should definitely just stay out of (the political situation in Syria) unless our assistance is requested. Even then I would have doubts.

For examples of how the Western nations past attempts at intervention have turned out, consider Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Joe Hyde 2 years, 10 months ago

Just guessing, but I think Russia's decision not to support the UN's condemnation of the Assad regime is based on their desire to not somehow accidentally alienate and anger the Islamic world. Russia had a real bad experience in Afghanistan recently, if you recall, and is not eager to rekindle any animosity in the region.

China probably wants to stay out of the UN's condemnation also, but in their case the strategy may be more about keeping a hands-off military approach so that they can increase their hands-on economic reach into that region.

Russia and China are walking a razor's edge, though. It is authoritarian regimes like Assad's that, when they finally crumble or get overthrown, open the door to democratic and humanist governments whose leaders will certainly remember Russia and China for leaving their people twisting in the wind.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't think that is the situation. It appears that the Arab League that is made up of mostly Muslims are hoping that the UN or NATO will step in and stop the carnage. Russia is not afraid of upsetting the Islamic world because their decision to support Assad angered all Muslims and Arabs. This Assad needs to be stopped.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

If what you are saying is correct, the Arab League needs to stop hoping and start asking.

Jimo 2 years, 10 months ago

So, the U.S. is supposed to pick a fight with both Russia and China? Because Russia and China will just fold like a cheap suit because the U.S. says "booh"?

All because Syria uses brutal force to suppress civilian dissent, just like many regimes do. Like our ally Bahrain. Or Israel. Or Thailand. Or Algeria. Or Sri Lanka. Or Uz-beki-beki-stan-stan.

So, in short, there's not a corner of the world where America shouldn't stick its nose into, or a nation so powerful that the U.S. shouldn't predicate its entire relationship to this modern day version of the Olney Corollary: The United States is sovereign on this earth and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition. Its infinite resources combined with its most true and pure goodness render it master of every situation and practically invulnerable as against any or all other powers. Bring on the "Team America" puppets! We'll teach those silly foreigners not to question our superior wisdom!

Look, I'm all in favor of collective action against this despicable regime. But the idea that all the world must obey our every whim is absurd.

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