The Associated Press reports that Amnesty International is swinging into action against the brutal Syrian crackdown:
Syrian security forces may have committed crimes against humanity during a deadly siege of a western town in May, Amnesty International said Wednesday, citing witness accounts of deaths in custody, torture and arbitrary detention.
The London-based rights group called on the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
Uh-oh. Looks like a Strongly Worded Letter could be coming your way, Bashar Assad!
What sort of abuses could rouse our international human rights system from its torpor? The official death toll is 1,400 and rising. Many of them were killed while engaged in such subversive activities as attending a funeral. The regime gunned down 14 of its citizens just yesterday. Granted, that’s small potatoes compared to the work of Assad’s father Hafez, who liquidated somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000 people during his own crackdown. Does the human rights community have a minimum official death toll before it goes ballistic, and if so, have they published it anywhere?
Assad’s murders are salted with a good deal of torture, and not the kind involving brief exposure to a wet towel on the face of a terrorist detainee:
Amnesty quoted witnesses as saying Syrian forces fired on fleeing families and ambulances carrying the wounded; one witness said soldiers stabbed lit cigarettes on the backs of detainees’ necks.
At least nine people died in custody, witnesses told Amnesty. Eight of them were shot at and wounded as they were ordered out of a house, and were then taken away by soldiers.
Assad knows how to use the idiom of Western government to take some of the heat off his back:
According to Amnesty, some of the family members who went to identify the bodies of their sons in Talkalakh were forced to sign a document stating that their sons were killed by armed gangs.
There, see? Everything is nice and documented. The wrath of Western bureaucracy will bounce right off that paperwork shield.
You know what else they have in Syria? Elections! Granted, only one party is allowed to compete, and half the buildings in Damascus are covered with giant posters of the incumbent Dear Leader, and those who vote the wrong way might just run afoul of those “armed gangs.” Did you know Bashar Assad was re-elected with 97.62% of the vote in his last election? What Western leader could claim such an impressive mandate?
Even if Amnesty International gets the attention of the U.N. Security Council, Russia and China have promised to veto any official condemnation of Syria, so this is all going nowhere. Amnesty would be better advised to write its own Strongly Worded Letter, and slip it into a Victoria’s Secret catalog, so there’s a remote chance Assad will see it.
Meanwhile, those nauseated by Assad’s crimes can ponder how much our fiscally bankrupt government is paying to belong to a morally bankrupt United Nations that can’t bring itself to condemn a regime that has been shooting at ambulances for fourteen weeks, and counting.