President Obama was talking tough on Monday when he said that he would consider using force in Syria if Bashar Assad uses chemical weapons against his own people. That’s a good marker to lay down, but the way the president phrased the threat he implicitly gave the Assad regime permission to commit any atrocities short of using chemical weapons safe in the knowledge that the U.S. will do nothing to stop the slaughter.
The hollowness of Obama’s policy has been further exposed in this Washington Post article which quotes Syrian opposition officials complaining that they have not gotten the influx of communications gear promised to them by the president. The provision of computers, laptops, radios, etc., has been the administration’s response to demands that the U.S. provide weapons and other supplies to help overthrow Assad. Turns out our help has been mainly rhetorical so far. The Post reveals: “U.S. officials and Syrian nationals involved in the program said that it is slated to expand in the coming months but that fewer than two dozen laptop computers and satellite modem kits had been distributed so far.”
How pathetic. Tens of thousands of Syrians are dying at the hands of an avowedly anti-American, pro-Iranian regime–and the U.S. can do nothing more to help the suffering people of Syria than to send 24 laptops and modems? Unless the U.S. steps forward to do more, the people of Syria will long remember our betrayal of them in their hour of need–and long after Assad is gone we will pay a price in lost standing in this important Middle Eastern nation.