Are These the Values We Share?

Obama and Clinton have decided it is the job of the US to force regime change on Syria. Romney has called their bluff, pointing out that the pretense of a series of democratic revolutions in the Arab world is really cover for Jihadis and other unsavory types who are overthrowing governments they have long hated in the hopes of establishing a Sharia nation.

I very much appreciate Romney’s point that we are not getting “American-style” democracies in the Arab Spring. But I worry when Romney says we will support people who “share our values.” My worry is that I don’t know that there is any significant number of such people. Will we admit the real state of affairs or will we try to pretend that the anti-Assad forces are all on our side?

Which brings us to that video released yesterday.

“The jumpy footage shows the following: Men in rags, many stripped of their shoes. Some appear dazed from the wounds of a battle they’d just lost. Others appear to be hyperventilating out their last prayers and thoughts. One pleads for his life. A rebel walks among the prisoners, getting in a few last kicks to the head of one of them.”

“Then, the cries of ‘God is great’ from the triumphant murderers are drowned out by a buzzsaw of automatic rifle fire.”

No doubt, war is hell. I’m sure figuring out what to do with prisoners you don’t want is a burden. If you don’t have the resources to make a prison and you really hate the soldiers, then it would be easy to “solve” the problem by killing them.

But watching a video where disarmed men are beaten for fun before being executed to religious praise just doesn’t bode well for the hope that these people share our values or are our friends. And we know that this is not the only video.

“In early August, a video showed several bloodied prisoners being led into a noisy outdoor crowd in the northern city of Aleppo and placed against a wall before gunmen open fire and shoot them to death. According to activists, the slain prisoners were members of the powerful Barri clan, which has long had close ties to the Syrian government….”

“There have been other videos of individual summary execution-style killings. Throughout the 19-month-old conflict, there have been other reports of brutal sectarian killings by opposition gunmen — including, according to one report by a Shiite watchgroup, the beheading of Iraqi Shiites living in Syria. At the same time, there have been repeated reports of massacres by regime forces and by the pro-government fighters known as shabiha.”

I hope that Romney will be careful who we support. He speaks strongly of the need to intervene in Syria. I confess I don’t understand why. It seems to me that the evidence against one group is as strong as the evidence against the other. Why do we need to take sides? More importantly, what can possibly be gained by sending weapons to a group that uses them to inflict atrocities? What happens to our own safety when these weapons are tuned on us?

Let Syria fight its own battles without our involvement. If Obama won’ stop the money and arms to Jihadis, hopefully Romney will.