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Where is the moral outrage?

Caricature of Steve

The muted response by the international community to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war is all too familiar.   Why is America’s voice one of the  disappointing few to express moral outrage against this blatant violence?

Silence in the face of atrocities of any nature is unconscionable.   We’ve seen this too often.  Reluctantly, it seems, the world is eventually forced—often lead by the United States—to take responsible reaction.  But why so long?

 –Why did it take the world so long to recognize the genocide in Cambodia where millions were killed between 1975-1979?

–Why it take the world so long to recognize the atrocities of “ethnic cleansing” perpetrated in the Bosnia War of 1992-1994?  Yes, the U.S. was slow to act, too.

 –Why did it take the world so long to recognize the ethnic violence between the Tutsis and Hutus of Rwanda in 1994? 

–Why did it take the world so long to recognize the inhumanity in Darfur, Sudan  in the decade war beginning in 2004?

Now the White House is considering a limited military strike against Syria for that nation’s suspected use of chemical weapons against its own people last month.  At the moment, only France in the family of nations is willing to join the U.S.

President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have taken the correct steps.

Mr. Obama has wisely chosen to seek approval of Americans through their elected representatives in Congress.

Mr. Kerry has wisely sought international support through meetings and telephone conversations with the Arab community and European leaders.

This is how the process should work.

However, it’s a shame that there was not immediate moral outrage by the rest of the world in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. And America’s wish to punish Syria is understandable given U.S. principles.

Nevertheless, the White House has chosen wisely to build international and domestic consensus before taking military action.

I still am apposed to armed aggression by the U.S. against any sovereign nation–no matter how limited. But if she does act, gaining expressed approval from all stakeholders beforehand is appropriate.

But why–after too many instances of   atrocities, barbarity and inhumanity–is the rest of the world still so meek?

Until we and the rest of the world are prepared to live up to our lofty rhetoric about human rights, equal justice and peace,  such language is empty and hypocritical.   We really don’t believe what we say unless we’re prepared to back up our words.

America once again seems prepared to act even in the absence of moral outrage by other nations.   Why is the rest of the world silent–again?


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