'I have long shunned away from the immensely frustrating practice of sharing videos of atrocities from Syria, particularly ones produced by western news outlets. ًThese videos have not only grown more abundant and grotesque over the years, but also, with the vast majority of them showing the aftermath of airstrikes against civilian structures in the opposition-held areas, they present an indisputable evidence for who is responsible for the killing: The regime and its allies.
The other side does not have an air force.
Yet, commentary in the videos and underneath them never fails to divert attention from this very obvious fact. Generic talk of "war is bad", with endless variants, runs amok, almost always neglecting to name the actual criminal involved. Worse yet, many use this very same footage--sincerely or maliciously, it hardly matters--to advance their own misplaced agendas.
So, just in case this is not obvious, let us be clear:
The vast majority of suffering in Syria is NOT a direct or indirect byproduct of the 2003 intervention in Iraq, as much as you hate and hated that war.
It is NOT a case of "America needs to stop bombing Muslims," as true as this could be elsewhere.
It is NOT because the Saudi state exports Wahhabism, as terrible said state and ideology are.
It is NOT because Turkish AKP has turned its back as Jihadists trickled through the border in 2013, as appalling and narrow-sighted you might think that was.
It is NOT because global warming led to a drought in pre-war Syria, catalyzing an economic and political crisis, as sexy and convenient this theory seems.
It is NOT because of ISIS, who is responsible for but a small fraction of the death and destruction that has befallen Syria, and for an even much smaller fraction of the country's recent history, as much as you might be horrified by their actions and tempted to blame it all on that magnet of resentment.
And, most certainly, it is NOT because of any one state, not the least the US, having the wrong refugee policy. The US has admitted less than 10,000 refugees as of date, which is less than 0.1% of all people displaced in Syria, and, with the wildest improvement imaginable, would not hit 1%, as much as democrats and progressives think it easy to score points against Trump et al on this issue and feel better about their stance on Syria.
Important as any one issue of the above may be, to blame Syria on any or all of them is wrong and intellectually lazy, if not offensive.
Rather, what is happening in Syria is first and foremost the doing of a brutal, totalitarian government, simply put--and simply it should be. The Syrian air force has been operational for the last 4 years, on a daily basis. It has targeted hospitals, vegetable markets, bakery lines, gas stations, and schools, on purpose, and repeatedly. It is directly overseen and micromanaged by the Commander of the Armed Forces, who also happens to be the sitting president of Syria. He also has the "rights" to dissolve the Syrian parliament and control the highest judiciary body in the country, based on a constitution first put in place by his dear father. He, like his father, was "elected" by 99% of the vote for the longest presidential term on earth. Over the past half-decade, he has overseen the collective punishment and destruction of one of the most beautiful countries on earth, primarily because he has not been able to reign it into submission. In the process, he has instigated a war that killed half a million humans and displaced more people than in WWI. His name is Bashar al Assad, and he wants you to talk about everything and everyone but what HE did.
Please do not help him.'