By Chez Pazienza: They say you should never make a decision when you're angry and maybe it's best to heed that advice. And yet I can't help but think that anger -- uniform, global outrage that feels like the wrath of almighty God -- is what's required at this moment.
Governments around the world have now begun expelling Syrian diplomats in response to last week's massacre in the village of Houla, the details of which are so horrific as to be almost beyond imagination. While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has kept a tight grip on the news coming out of his country, refusing to allow independent journalists access to the various stories that have emerged during a 15-month-long public uprising against him and his regime, the U.N. is confirming many of the initial reports about the Houla slaughter. Last Friday, pro-government forces armed with tanks, artillery and small arms, went door to door in Houla, killing dozens of unarmed civilians; when it was all over, more than a hundred people were dead, many of them women and children who had been not only shot at close range but stabbed and even hacked apart with axes.
Children. Hacked apart with axes.
It's an atrocity that honestly strains the notion of an appropriate, proportional response.
The expulsion of diplomats and the overall global condemnation being leveled at the current Syrian government are certainly a strong start, but it cannot and should not end there. While no one wants to see the United States undertake another military adventure overseas, let alone in the Middle-East, it's definitely "big stick" time when it comes to dealing with Bashar al-Assad; he has to be forced from power one way or another, whether through the support of rebel groups seeking to oust him or direct military intervention brought to bear by the free world. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs, has already stated that while diplomacy is the preferred option, U.S. forces are prepared to act if called upon to do so. Under no circumstances should the United States take action unilaterally, but the threat of an attack by an international alliance should be on the table if for no other reason than to assure Assad that his actions will not be tolerated.
Nobody wants to see war erupt. But something has to be done to stop Bashar al-Assad. No one who's done what he has deserves to escape justice.
Yes, I'm angry. You should be too.