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Thy Shall Not Stand by Over the Spilling of Thy Neighbor's Blood

The fact that the world stood by when Rowanda went through a genocide of 700,000 people or when 500,000 Sudanese were murdered and almost 3 million of Sudanese were displaced without the world stopping it does not mean that the international community is absolved from the moral duty to save others from such fates. Jewish people demanded of the world that it should not have turned a blind eye towards the holocaust with the claim that more should have been done to shelter our relatives from Hitler's gas chambers and all of G-d's children deserve the same decency and respect ("kovod habreeos").

The innocent Syrians are no different than other groups who should be saved from a brutal dictator's bullets, bombs, missiles or chemical gas. The only possible justification there is to the civilized world for not doing so is that the brutal dictator of Syria is being protected by a big time gangster by the name of Vladimir Putin. The relationship between Russia and Syria is not ideological - it's simply a business arrangement whereby Russia, because of its pathetic economy, still not having caught on to the successful methods of free markets, has to do business with Syria to keep itself afloat. The Chinese regime, historically, is also not a moral one - and yes - countries can vary in their adherence to a moral code the same way that individuals do. China also stands in the way of any UN resolution to punish Syria for its atrocities against its own people. So it is, that major bad players can either inflict great

harm to innocent people or can stand in the way of redressing those ills in the international arena. Islamic Jihad claims that the West or the U.S. in particular is such a major bad player in that the U.S. has stood behind dictators such as the Shah of Iran, Sadam Husein of Iraq or even Hosni Mubarak of Egypt all of whom perpetrated brutal treatment of the Islamic dissidents in their midst. There is some truth to such a criticism, although in our defense it is argued that to keep the militant Islamists from overtaking their countries, one sometimes needs the tactics of strong arm dictators who indeed go overboard at times to keep the Islamists at bay but that is far from a perfect answer.

Since April of 2011, one of the dictators of the Middle East, a Russian client state in this case and Iran partner, has been perpetrating a mass slaughter of its own people which began by shooting at innocent and non violent protesters who were simply demanding a change in their government leadership. This slaughter to date has culminated in over 110,000 deaths. The civilized world was paralyzed from acting

all of this time even though the West initially had a clearly visible and decent faction - those of the Free Syrian Army - to ally with. President Obama did not want to ruffle the feathers of the gangster regimes, such as China, Russia and Iran, because as long as regimes are not certified as criminal, our President wants to "hondel" or do business with them. Such was his boastful claim when he ran against Hillary when he proclaimed that it is ridiculous to have preconditions in order to negotiate with any world leader no matter what their record is or stated positions are.

Our President, despite the opinion of many on the right, does have a moral compass in relation to criminal activity (note his record of strong employment of drones to pick off Al Qaeda affiliate terrorists) and it is in evidence at this point when Obama drew a red line in relation to Assad's use of chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons was banned in 1925 by 189 countries by leaders representing 98% of the world's population and deemed such use as a war crime. Syria which was not a signatory to that ban is not absolved from it the same way a rank and file criminal is not absolved from adherence of the criminal code of the state or country wherein he resides by a sheer declaration that he does not subscribe to said criminal code. Barack Obama's conscience was slow to awaken or act as a catalyst for action but he must be given credit for his moral determinism, belated as it may be.

The reasons the U.S. and its allies should act to punish or even help to depose Assad is both humanitarian and strategic for the Western world. The U.S. acted in Bosnia/Kosovo and Libya to prevent further atrocities and were not sucked into a ground war. Unfortunately, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not well thought out in advance and major blunders were made in both. That however is not a reason why the U.S. and its allies can not execute a police action the way they were done in the Ukraine and Libya. Furthermore, strategically we must show the Islamic world, a great segment of which harbors resentment, anger and suspicion towards the U.S., that we welcome any and all people of their faith and culture to join the free world in terms of rights, responsibilities and freedom.

Those decent folk of the Arab Spring - yes I said Arab Spring- yearning to be free of secular dictators or religious despots are the ones we have to reach out to with solidarity and support. We have both a cold war and hot war with the Islamic world. We can't just kill their "bad" guys. We have to embrace and win over the hearts and minds of the decent folk of that part of the world. As long as we have business interests - which clearly we do - through the import of oil and the complicated history we have with that region, it's incumbent upon us to welcome those from them who want to join the civilized world.

Many of us have criticized our President for many things but this time he has it right. He is in line with Biblical teachings "Thy Shall Not Stand by Over the Spilling of Thy Neighbor's Blood". All those who say it's not any of our business when atrocities go on and don't do anything about it because "it's none of my business" is akin to someone living in a house while hearing shrieks of terror from an abused wife from the neighbor's house and saying "it doesn't have anything to do with me". That is not a civilized approach and civilized people likewise don't want to live in a world where atrocities are committed wholesale. The moral minority (in this case) must educate and show the proper way to the rest of the world. We can't go wrong when we follow Torah's moral compass.

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