For years Syria has been on America’s official list of terrorist nations. Recently the Syrian dictator, Hafez Assad, died after three decades of a brutal reign of power. His government allowed no political freedom whatsoever. Dissent was a crime.
“I always respected him,” said Clinton, praising Assad for taking part in peace talks. Respected Hafez Assad? A dictator? A sponsor of terrorism? Does Mr. Clinton know something that the State Department doesn’t know?
Oh sure, Assad sometimes cooperated with the U.S. on the public scene, when he wasn’t befriending terrorists behind the scenes. Maybe he did want to improve his standing in the eyes of the international community.
But that’s what manipulative dictators do. They play the power game. But does that make them heroes of freedom, peace and democracy? Well, maybe Clinton just admires the guy’s staying power; Clinton would love another 30 years in power himself.
I guess it would have been a terrible shock to international diplomacy if our President had simply said, “Another thug bites the dust. Hooray!” But can’t we have a little respect for the men and women and children who have been maimed or killed, in body and in spirit, over the past thirty years: the victims of Hafez Assad?
Some argue we have to deal with dictators as we try to achieve piece in a war-torn part of the world. But we don’t have to send roses to their funerals.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.