U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to refrain from violence as the United Nations called on the Syrian regime to halt its "assault on its own people."
At the end of last March, after the US & NATO attacks on the Libyan Qadaffi regime began, Clinton was asked about the comparison between the situations in Libya & Syria. The printed words do not convey her stifled guffaw in her answer:
"There's a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities than police actions that frankly have exceeded the use of force that anyone would like to see," Clinton said comparing Libya and Syria.I've asked before what difference it makes about Libya's air power when the vast majority of the NATO attacks are against ground targets. Obama had said that there was a potential for the death of 1,000 people in Libya without some sort of response to Qadaffi's war on his own people, in order to justify our intervention. The death toll in Syria "has exceeded 1,100, with up to 10,000 detained". Now comes word of another 21 deaths today. One could say that this begs the question, but this is more like grovelling.
True, a move on the Syrian regime invites the attention of their Iranian ally. I would say that that would be all the more reason to crack Assad, but first the Libyan problem must be dealt with. That involves NATO, in both instances. NATO was created to take on the Soviet Union & the Warsaw Pact. Here we see that it can barely manage to handle half of Libya.
Update: Soon-to-retire Defence Secretary Robert Gates, seeing the light at the end of his tunnel, is becoming more comfortably candid with his assessments, such as 'US taxpayers are paying 75% of the financial burden of the [NATO] alliance'. He praised the contributions & effort of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, & Norway, though he notably said nothing about the UK, France & Italy, who pushed the US into the problem, & he went on to say that after only eleven weeks of the campaign, European countries are pulling back because their stocks of munitions are getting low. He said that the alliance faces a "dim, if not dismal future", &
Without naming names, he blasted allies who are "willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets."Defence officials originally told Congress that it would estimate $750 million for the operation through Sepetmber. We've already blown through that, & now we're being asked for another $100 million. Gates said that the 28 members of NATO voted for the operation, yet only a third have contributed to the effort. He went on to say that European countries have cut back so much on their defence budgets that many could not participate, even if they wanted to.
This is another example of Europe resting under the umbrella of American protection, while criticising us for our military presence. This is an element that has prolonged the season of lotus-eating on the Continent.