Are you not entertained Mr.Obama?
Is this not what you wanted Mr Putin?
War does not take from one more or less than it takes from another. All those who are subjected to it's wrath are forever changed. Those who see it's face and walk away with their lives will forever bare it's wounds. It is a crime that makes no distinction between combatant and civilian. It only seeks it's pound of flesh, it's ounce of blood. Once invited... once provoked, war takes us further than we could have ever dreamed possible. Where we give an inch, war tends to take a mile. For the innocent civilians in Syria this has been a war that refuses to end. It was invited through the excesses of a few and yet claims far too many. The wounds it has left may never truly heal.
The West has sat on the sidelines of this war. Like so many cases that came before it, we told ourselves it was acceptable for a barbaric regime to kill it's own people in any way it saw fit. Then, with the images of children being killed playing on our screens, we made a bloody line in the sand. Our leaders, in all their so called wisdom, decided to play a game of chicken with the enemy of all free peoples. We told a sadist that there was a form of torment that we would not tolerate. We expected that our entertainment with his downfall would continue, that Assad would refrain from provoking us.
Assad showed that he was far more than capable of crossing that line.
Bombing bread lines, using cluster munitions, utilizing chemical weapons, and firing SCUD missiles upon his own citizens; Assad showed the West where his line in the sand was. It is a thin line between his own ego and total war. It is a line that he is happy to dance around while the West remains shocked by the brazen arrogance of Syria's tyrant. All the while Putin and China try their best to drag Assad well past the point of no return.
For three long years we have dictated to the rebels in Syria what we wanted of them. We criticized them for allowing extremists into their ranks while refusing to answer their pleas for intervention. We told them to avoid acts of barbarism that parroted Assad's own abuses while refusing to ship them weapons with which to defend themselves. We told them to avoid shooting prisoners of war while refusing to provide them supplies with which to keep the captured Shabiha alive. For three long years President Obama has used the Syrian resistance as pawns in his games with Russia.
When was the last time we seriously attempted to bring the war to an end? When was the last time we honestly asked the Syrian people what they actually want? Why can't America and Russia back down and allow the Syrian people the right to self-determination that we all claim for ourselves?
If we were to strip the radical mercenaries from both sides of the battle lines, if we were to send the Hezbollah thugs back home, if we were to make the Iranians leave the front lines; what would Syria have to say about it's own fate?
If Putin was to back down from his support of a tyrant he is attempting to make into a puppet, if Obama was to honestly back away from his supposed support of the rebels; what would the civilians in Damascus want the world to hear about this war?
(Female rebels prepared to fight alongside their male comrades)
Would we hear stories of families being forced to surrender their sons and daughters to a fight they didn't want in the first place? Or would we hear tales of entire communities sending all able-bodied men, women, and youth off to the front? Would we see families torn between loyalist dedication to Assad and open rebellion against the dictator? Or would we see the battle lines drawn strictly between communities and religious factions?
War has a way of fogging the reality that rest just beneath the surface. It creates a barrier between what is real and what we want it to be. Once the line between the two is erased we are left with a brutal realization of where we failed to act and where we overreached. Syria has not broken that barrier in the eyes of Western onlookers. It remains shrouded by the haze that war brings with it.
For the time being we are not able to see the complete picture of what is happening on the ground in Syria. Yet we find ourselves fixated by the carnage that peeks out from beneath the fog. For some it is heart wrenching. For others it is a perverted form of entertainment as they cheer one side or the other.
In the politics of the West verse East Syria is a form of perverse entertainment. Even though it threatens to force us over the thin line between entertainment and proxy war, Syria remains a chess game for politicians who act like dictators in their own right. While the people of Syria face one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our time our world leaders use their suffering to gain political capital.
(Syrian Refugees Fleeing For Turkey)
When this is all over will we be able to look the victims in their eyes? Will we be able to tell ourselves that we did our part in protecting the vulnerable? Will we be able to say before the world that we took a stand against this hedonistic slaughter? Or will the world have to hang it's head and apologize in the same way we did after Rwanda... after Bosnia... after Cambodia... after the Armenia?
As for our leaders, for those who hold the power to call off the dogs of war, are you not satisfied? Have these past three years not been entertaining Washington? Moscow? London? Beijing? Tehran? Have the people of Syria not suffered enough for your selfish desires? Or have they not paid enough in blood to satisfy the divide between the West and East?
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