More From Alder's Ledge

April 11, 2013

Break Their Backs

Carpet Bombing and Targeting Civilians
(A look at Syria's war crimes)

"Revolution means democracy in today's world, not the enslavement of peoples to the corrupt and degrading horrors of totalitarianism." ~ Ronald Reagan

The object of war has and will forever be the total destruction of one's enemy. This is the very reason war should never be taken lightly. For no matter how measured the acts of aggression are, no matter how precise the bomb, no matter how careful the soldier aims... somebody dies. And more often than not, it isn't the other combatant. It is the civilian population in and around the battle field that bears the brunt of war. It is upon their backs that the war is waged. It is upon their backs that the battles are won or lost.

Assad has been waging a campaign of "total war" against his own citizens. The line between combatant and civilian has all but vanished in the eyes of the Syrian Army. The man with a kalashnikov is no longer the primary target. Instead it is the little boy playing amongst the rubble, the little girl hiding in the doorway of her house, and the war weary mother who has buried her husband. This is what war becomes when one's enemy no longer is so easily defined. This is how war degrades the value of life by shrouding it in hate. 

Western leaders should be quick to remember that in the war for Syria's freedom it was Assad that fired the first shot. When his people rose up to demand their rights it was the Nero of Damascus that set Syria ablaze. Every death, every martyr, every slaughtered baby rightfully belong to Assad's long list of war crimes. He started this war. It was his brutality that left the masses with no other option but to side with armed rebels. And it will be his brutal tyranny that will inevitably lead to his own downfall. 

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." 

Today Human Rights Watch released statements pointing out Assad's war crimes. Once again the human rights group has pointed out that Assad has been using cluster ammunition to carpet bomb the civilian areas of Syria's cities. They pointed out that Assad has moved on from rocket attacks to heavy "dumb" bombs to level neighborhoods. And in the end they mentioned the ballistic missiles that Assad has begun to use against civilian areas not even involved in direct combat between the rebels and his own forces. 

These sorts of attacks would seemingly warrant some form of UN intervention in any other country. Yet in Syria the attacks, after more than two years of armed conflict, are becoming a part of daily life... or survival of it at least. While children are forced to live without the basic assurance of their safety, lack of access to schools, and face starvation at times; the UN avoids interaction. 

"The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." 
~Abraham Lincoln

Currently the G8 are meeting to discuss a wide array of issues. Potential war with North Korea has many of the countries sidetracked from the current crisis in Syria. Yet the issue of Assad and the Syrian rebels is said to be up for conversation. But just how much will come out of a distracted and unwilling convention of Western leaders? 

At the same time it is important to note that Barack Obama promised "dire consequences" if Assad crossed the "red line" with chemical weapons. But what about the use of ballistic missiles? Should it be acceptable to allow a dictator the option of annihilating his own citizens just as long as they don't have to suffer like the Kurds did under Saddam? Should we not consider the use of cluster bombs, carpet bombing, and ballistic missiles as being a "step too far"? 

It is clear when looking at Assad's war crimes that the UN is woefully ill-equipped to deal with Syria and it's supporters (Russia, China, and Iran). When it comes to standing toe to toe with Putin and Assad it would appear that the UN has no stomach for that fight. And for that reason the civilians of Syria must have their backs broken under the weight of a tyrant who knows no limits to his cruelty. 

Source Documents 
(Note that not all sources are listed)

Human Rights Watch

The New York Times

Frontline (PBS)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment, just keep it on topic.