See if you can follow my logic here; I'm sitting on my duff last evening watching Iron Man 2, and a discussion with those present breaks out about Terrance Howard versus Don Cheadle as Col. Rhodes. My argument was that I like both of them, but preference goes to Terrance, since I consider Don more less of a shoot 'em up action star. The point I make for my argument is that Don was great in 'Hotel Rwanda'. From here the conversation about what happened in Rwanda during the era that the movie was based in broke out.
The Rwanda genocide began in April 1994; within a few weeks, nongovernmental organizations there were estimating that 100,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus had been massacred. In the film, the main character portrayed by Don must over come international indifference, a single scene where a UN Colonial played by Nick Nolte, tells our protagonist that he should spit in his face cause the world, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Just doesn't care about them."
In the real life narrative, the US refused to acknowledge what was staring them in the face, that genocide to the tune of hundreds of thousands was occurring. Namely because of the U.S. signing onto the Genocide Convention that occurred in the wake of the horrors of World War II. Had the US decided that what was happening in Rwanda was in fact genocide, they would have been legally obligated to intervene. Terms like "Acts of Genocide" where substituted instead.
Fast forward to today, the real reason the Obama administration does not want to recognize that chemical weapons are being used in Syria is because Obama warned the Syrian regime clearly and sharply in August against using such weapons. “There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical-weapons front or the use of chemical weapons,” he said. “That would change my calculations significantly.” Terms like "appearnce of..." and "Exists the possibility." are being used to through doubt on the certainty expressed by the UK, France, and Israel's intelligence services.
The President doesn't want to say it with an absolute, he can't comprehend that someone over there would be so stupid and foolish as to provoke him in this way, and in most ways of looking at it, this action that appears to have been taken by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad makes very little sense. Unless he is trying to send this message to the rebels in his country. "The world sees what is happening here and they are doing nothing." They are trying to make another Rwanda, to show that there is no hope for their cause and that the rebels could be squashed at any time.
One of the real issues that will become more apparent as the U.S. decides what they are going to do in Syria, if anything, is consideration for who are these two sides. There is the relatively secular regime of President Assad, who is not winning any friendship or humanitarian awards for the way hew rules, and then there is the rebel force, far from being led by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, the New York Times wrote about the opposition; "Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of," the paper reported. It went on to explain that the so-called rebels or freedom fighters seeking to overthrow the brutal (but secular) Assad regime are all radical Islamists. All of them. These would be the same rebels we're giving hundreds of millions of dollars in nonmilitary aid to. This includes factions of al Qaeda. Yup, those guys...
What is the President to do, well, it's a little late, but I'd stop making ultimatums for starters. We've successfully worked our way into either potentially allowing another Genocide to occur, or to help a group that is supported by our sworn enemies.
But, the White House must recognize that the game has already changed. U.S. credibility is on the line. For all the temptation to hide behind the decision to invade Iraq based on faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, Obama must realize the tremendous damage he will do to the United States and to his legacy if he fails to act. He should understand the deep and lasting damage done when the gap between words and deeds becomes too great to ignore, when those who wield power are exposed as not saying what they mean or meaning what they say.
"You loose!" Was the line that Whiplash used in Iron Man 2. He was talking about how, even though Iron Man could beat up any single opponent in a straight up fight, that the hero was not infallible, that people would see the 'blood in the water' and learn how to exploit his weaknesses. It would seem that the U.S. is getting close to reveling one of our big weaknesses.