Are the Syrian rebels involved in war crimes?

Who is Responsible

The UN, along with other morally superior people of the world, are questioning if Syrian rebels are involved in war crimes for executing prisoners. In times of war between nations it is common practice that warring parties will set up POW (prisoner of war) camps, where prisoners are held captive, until hostilities have ended. The main reason for this practice, at least in “civilized” nations, is the hope that if you treat your enemy humanely when captured, they will reciprocate and do the same with your people. The taking of prisoners also allows for prisoner swaps between warring sides, and even holding prisoners for ransom. The problem with these options is that Bashar al-Assad has proven time and time again that he is not civilized. His actions clearly demonstrate that he only cares for himself.

Other uses for prisoners are the gathering of military secrets or using prisoners for propaganda purposes, a practice by the way that is frowned upon by the Geneva Convention. Most likely Assad’s people who know secrets are not doing the fighting.

What is the most distressing is the knowledge that some of the captured prisoners will defect if only given the chance. While this is a real possibility, we can take some small comfort in the knowledge that those suspected by Assad of defection are not allowed at the front lines. After all, it is not good military tactics to place defectors up front. It is even more incompetent to supply them with weapons. I am not saying that there are no defectors at the front. I am saying there are no easy options in this war. To those who are captured, and who want to defect: I would suggest that now might be your final chance.

Execution must always be the last option in war, but even the most civilized nations have done it. Even George Washington, the father of my country, executed his own men for mutiny and desertion. With that in mind try to convince a young untrained Syrian soldier, fresh from battle and pumped with exuberance, bravado, and adrenaline, that the person who just shot his comrade deserves mercy or wants to defect. When the dogs of war are unleashed, it is left to those fighting on the front lines to decide the fate of those in their crosshairs. It is up to the commanders to tell those under their command not to take prisoners if it endangers their life, or those of their men. After the war is won or lost, it will be left to the courts of the victors to decide if their actions were justified. Finally history will decide; one way or the other.

Can civilized behavior exist in the Syrian war?

The Syrian people have not had peace or security for decades. Bashar al-Assad’s own father, Hafez al-Assad, was president between 1971 and 2000. In 1982, the elder Assad massacred between 10,000–25,000 people in the city of Hama, when he suppressed a rebellion against his own tyrannical rule. That attack has been described as one of “the single deadliest acts by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East”. Hafez was involved in massacres and killings in Lebanon as well. It only goes to show that massacres and murders run in this family’s blood. Like father like son. It must also be noted that nations learn their behavior from the people that rule them.

It is painfully obvious that the word “civilized” does not exist in Assad’s vocabulary. He has no qualms about executing his prisoners. He and his lackeys have no qualms about torturing and executing innocent women and children as well. They murder anyone they wish, with few repercussions. Assad doesn’t even bother to find out if an area supports him. If a rebel is present, that area is now tainted. If a pacifist speaks out for change, that pacifist and whole neighborhoods are marked for destruction.

People who believe that war can be civilized are deluding themselves. History has too often shown that anyone taken prisoner in wartime can count themselves lucky if they make it to a POW camp. They are luckier still, if they see home again. It is a gruesome lottery, but there it is in a nutshell.

The UN is demanding that Syrian rebels respect their POWs. These people at present have no safe havens, no food, no electricity, no water, and no men to spare, yet people have the nerve to demand that they do the impossible. With few exceptions, the world has done nothing to prevent them from being killed or blown to smithereens by fighter jets, tanks, mortars, bombs, mercenaries, lap dogs and even those who are unable, but who would prefer to defect. The Syrians have for all purposes been abandoned to murderous megalomaniacs and are now forced to fight for their lives anyway they can.

When people are running for their lives, they don’t have time, nor will they listen to, the sanctimonious righteousness spewing from people whose whole lives are spent sleeping soundly, and safely, in warm beds in far away lands. Those who are clueless have not seen their wives and children murdered in front of their eyes, by psychotic murderers worse than Gaddafi. At least Gaddafi had the illusion that his people loved him. He spoke at rallies often. Bashar al-Assad has no such illusion. In fact he is so paranoid and hated that he has isolated himself from his people. In the past he rarely showed up to the rallies that supported him. Today most of the pro Assad rallies we hear of occur in other countries, not Syria.

If the UN believes so strongly in the sanctity of life, when are they going to do something that stops or even lessens the killing? Perhaps they could set up boot camps for freedom fighters, to train and to teach the niceties of “civilized” warfare. Perhaps they could airdrop a few dozen POW camps, along with newly trained guards, halal food, fuel supplies, non-lethal weapons, warm blankies, and other essentials that give Assad’s dogs the comforts of home. On the other hand, they could also just stop demanding that dogs be treated as human?

While the freedom fighters plea of help to the rest of the world goes unfulfilled, the world expects them to dutifully and humanely lead these animal, who they’ve witnessed murder and destroy everything they held dear, to a nice POW camp. After all the suffering they have endured, it should come as no surprise that they are not telling their captives, “Please wait here for your trial, and the day Assad surrenders to justice.” After all the death they have witnessed it is no wonder that they have been hardened in the belief, “You are either with us, or you are against us.”

Will the UN help in establishing a no fly zone, a no drive zone, or any kind of safe zone? Will the UN offer any alternatives for a secure future that we all take for granted? Will the UN offer resources that are crucial to the Syrian’s survival? We have the answers to these questions, and the answers so far are; NO!

If we supply weapons they might get into the wrong hands.

Note: When a group of people are being attacked by a shark, the right course of action is not to negotiate with the shark. What is also important is not to worry about which person in the water deserves help in fighting the shark. Time is of the essence. If you’re not going to throw those in danger a weapon, and if you can’t get them out of the water in time, at least shoot the shark; do something.

At the same time, what is not needed during a shark attack is to have food and medicine thrown into the water. While these items will be needed after the attack, there is a time and place for everything. It is important to realize that during a feeding frenzy, the shark is likely to grab a large portion of what is easily accessible. There have been alarming reports that Assad is doing just that. He is grabbing a lot of what is being sent, and burning whatever is left. Does that surprise the world? Well, welcome to the world of Bashar al-Assad.

Non lethal aid has been offered by well meaning countries so I will not denigrate those countries or donors for at least doing something. I will simply state, as loudly and as forcefully as I know how, “THESE MEAGER SUPPLIES ARE NOT ENOUGH.” When will the world supply what is really needed? Only guns and bullets will stop the carnage now. People still argue that more guns are “the last thing” that is needed. I submit that we are way past the last thing, as the Syrians have already passed through “the Gates of Hell.”

The US response that they won’t supply weapons to the Syrians because, “They might get into the wrong hands,” is hypocrisy at its worst. How much more must the Syrians suffer? How much worse can it get? Let’s be honest here for a moment. The US is the largest weapons provider in the world. We provide all manner of death to a world that is full of the wrong hands. We sell these weapons, not to those who deserve them, but to those who are willing and able to pay hard cold cash. We also sell or give weapons to the enemy of our enemy, even when no war is raging. This practice keeps many nations armed and dangerous and ensures that their neighbors will follow the same path. The arms race is not just a saying that should be used when describing the US and Russia. It applies to all areas of this planet, nations, cities, towns, and the smallest of hamlets.

This begs the question: How much of our economy is dependent on our supplying weapons to the world? How many millionaires in this country have made their fortunes by being harbingers of death? For those who are interested, see: War is a Racket. We have sold weapons to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Israel, and Pakistan, to name just a few. All of these weapons got into the wrong hand, and all have been used against innocent civilians. One thing is certain. If not for the USA providing the world with its weapons, there would be a lot fewer weapons around, and the world would be a lot safer.

Unfortunately in times of war there can be no overlooking wars ultimate tragedy. The tragedy I speak of is called collateral damage. Only someone without a soul can believe that the killing of innocent people is justified, even in times of war. Only someone who is naïve can believe that it won’t happen.

Everyone is guilty?

So the main question remains: Are the rebels really involved in war crimes, and crimes against humanity? From where I’m standing, it is the rest of the world who is guilty. They watch the atrocities being waged and do nothing but give lip service to the evil that is occurring, not just in Syria, but in all countries where we silently allow dictators to rule. We will always have people who will blame the Zionists, Obama, the CIA, foreigners, you name it. We’ve made it too easy to blame everything and everyone, except the dictators themselves. At the same time we have too many people naïvely calling for peace and negotiations where none is possible. We are also cursed with shadowy nations and figures who call for peace, due to their own nefarious reasons. What cave did these people crawl out from? What world do they live in?

While pacifists must be respected before every conflict, you must have pacifists on both sides of the aisle for pacifism to work. You must also have true pacifists, not the multitude of pretenders who just want to make headlines. In the end, once the bullets start flying, even pacifists had better be smart enough to run for cover. Failure to do so often ends with them being the first ones to get shot.

Armed conflict must always be the last option, but when all other options have failed there is only one way left open. You must be willing to kill, you must be willing to die, you must fight for survival, and you must fight in a way that brings an end to the war quickly. We must be painfully aware that too often we have people whose mission in life is not only to start a war, but to prolong them as well. Long drawn out conflicts ensures there are no winners. With this in mind, I condemn the US for still fighting what has become an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. I also condemn the US for having forced an illegal war in Iraq on the world, under false pretenses.

I will certainly receive the ire and scorn from many of my countrymen, especially unapologetic Republicans for what I have written here. However, I will take this moment to apologize to the world, and to mankind, for the sins of my country. I refuse to overlook the fact that the US has had people execute prisoners and even innocent civilians. Just look at the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for our latest example. I will not overlook that we have had presidents who were guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Those who refuse to believe facts I will never convince, but to those who are more open minded, I recommend they read up on American history. Andrew Jackson was a great American hero and leader, but his treatment of the Indians and his involvement in the Trail of Tears, can never be forgiven. I also plead with my fellow Americans not to forgive or forget George W. Bush and his lies leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Bush will always be a war criminal in my eyes, and I damn anyone and everyone who believes that his actions were civilized.

Damn Russia and China for continuing to insist that we negotiate with Assad. Did Russia negotiate with the Chechens, Georgians, Afghanis, or countless other countries they have invaded? Does China negotiate with the Uigers, Tibetans, or any of the many minorities forced to live under their one party rule? Is China negotiating with Vietnam, Philippines, New Guinea, or other nations whose territorial waters they now claim as their own?

Damn the rest of the world for their inaction and refusal to supply weapons to Syrian’s fighting for their dignity, while the Russians get away with supplying a murderous dictator with weapons of all types. “We must fulfill our contracts,” they hypocritically state. The Syrians will not soon forget this kind of betrayal. Come to think of it, the Libyans have not forgotten it either.

Shame must also be heaped upon those who have not learned from history. David Cameron has suggested that Assad has a way out if he moves to England, or any other country of his choosing. What gives him the right? We can feel a little sorry for him though, because he must be a reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain, who negotiated with Hitler. We all know how that ended. Could people negotiate with Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun? History has proven over and over that war is horrible. At the same time history has proven that appeasement is often the sure path to war. Give someone and inch and they will take a mile. Assad has now proven that the entire road is his oyster. He will take nothing less. He will not retreat, he will not negotiate, he will not surrender, and just like Gaddafi he now states he will live and die in Syria. Let’s hope his wish is granted; sooner rather than later.

Syrian choices

Once again the question remains: Should the Syrian rebels be condemned for executing their prisoners? My answer is simply, THIS IS WAR! It isn’t pretty, it isn’t civilized, and it’s as real as it gets. War brings out the worst in mankind, raw unadulterated hatred. It is for this reason that all mankind must fight with every fiber of their being to eradicate this ultimate evil.

The sad truth of the matter is, when the world is exploding around you, spending time on an enemy may not be an option. Leaving them behind to kill you, once your back is turned, may not be an option either. In fact, in many cases, it is just plain stupid.

In a perfect world the execution of prisoners would never be acceptable practice. In a perfect world mankind would never accept the practice of warfare either. Sadly the world is far from perfect. Until that glorious day, when war becomes extinct, those who believe war can be fought in a civilized manner are deluding themselves. “There be monsters out there,” and not enough saints.

The Syrians have been left with 2 hard decisions regarding their survival. Will they fight for freedom, or will fight for Assad? Trying to remain on the sidelines is rarely an option in civil war but in this civil war it is tantamount to suicide. The Alawites, Christians, Shiite, and Kurds are in the thick of this. No one can pretend that this is not their fight. If they don’t pick the correct side immediately, they won’t get a second chance later. Are there any guarantees? Not in this life, but especially not for those who have and who continue to side with Assad. They cannot expect mercy because they have not shown mercy themselves. Their ruthlessness to date demands retribution. Civil wars are not like normal wars where nations are held accountable. In a civil war anarchy rules and it’s every man for himself.

The UN and its failures

Should we listen to the UN’s screaming about war crimes? This is an organization that is party to these crimes, since it teams with the dictators who commit them. This is an organization that elected Libya to a seat on the Human Rights Counsel (formerly the corrupt Human Rights Commission) to appease Muammar Gaddafi. This is an organization that added insult to injury just yesterday Monday 11/12/2012, by replacing China, Cuba, and Russia, with Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Ivory Coast, and Pakistan, to name just a few. You could write a book on the violation of human rights committed by these nations; in fact many people have done just that. Someday I might dedicate a blog solely to the UN, but it suffices to say, the UN is an organization that lost its soul long ago and I don’t want any part of it.

The UN whines that Muammar Gaddafi didn’t get a fair trial. Obviously the dictators who belong to this club are pondering their own fate, and their own day of reckoning. Consider what would have happened if Gaddafi had been tried and given life instead of death. Would that have been justice? Would the world, or the Libyans, have accepted that verdict? The answer is an unequivocal NO! I will be forever grateful that we don’t have to find out the repercussions of that scenario. I am also grateful that we didn’t force Gaddafi’s victims to relive the horrors they suffered, in some far away courtroom.

With Gaddafi and Assad the world is painfully aware of their guilt. No court on this planet will convince me of their innocence. It is my opinion that Muammar got a death befitting a dictator. It is also my hope that Assad will go the same way.

A final warning: Are we headed towards Armageddon?

Because of its failures, the UN has opened the flood gates for the largest religious conflict we have seen in centuries. When it finally explodes, it will involve Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, to name just a few. If the Jews enter this mix, prepare for Armageddon.

Time for the world to respond was last year, but it still might not be too late. Hopefully the newly formed and long overdue Syrian coalition, agreed to on Sunday 11/11/2012, will finally get the help and recognition needed. Hopefully this new coalition, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, is not too big of a mouthful for people to remember.

The clock is ticking; there is no time to waste. Once the alarm bells go off there will be no way of preventing the hell fire that follows. Will there be any survivors when the guns finally fall silent? Will the Middle East ever know peace? Some day it might happen, however; as long as we are cursed with religious fanatics, dictators, unworkable borders, people who have no homeland of their own, and especially a world that could care less…? Only the Gods, the stars, or Nostradamus can know for sure.

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