How to stop the killing in Aleppo

There is just one way to stop the killing in Aleppo: An outright military victory by one side or the other. I discussed the issue a few minutes ago with host Bruce Sakalik on KQV News Radio in Pittsburgh.

Many people won’t like that, especially since in this case it means a victory by the forces of  the hated Syrian President Bashar Assad and his Russian sponsors. Many will take the opportunity to blame the West and especially their favorite target, US President Barack Obama, for letting this happen in the first place and then failing to stop it.

So let’s think this through for a moment. What could any outside power do to prevent the fighting in Aleppo? Send in armed forces. Occupy the city. And this, we suppose, would stop the massacres by Assad, al-Qaida and ISIS? How, exactly?

And likewise, how does an outside force stop the massacres once the fighting is underway? Send in armed forces?

What happened the last time the West sent large numbers of soldiers into the Mideast? That would be Iraq in 2004. About half a million people were killed. The entry of the foreign forces set off civil strife, and the exit of the forces arguably made it worse.

Then there’s the fact that we don’t even know what’s actually happening there. Only a few reporters dare to go into Syria in general and Aleppo in particular. We depend on activists to fill us in, and activists, by definition, have an agenda. We have made heroes of the White Helmets, supposedly neutral good guys rescuing people from the rubble. There’s evidence that the White Helmets are a branch of al-Qaida, and look at the photo–they’re not above “rescuing” the same girl three times for the sake of publicity, which, we, of course, swallow whole.fake-photo

Both sides are past masters of the “fake news” game. Here’s the Syrian ambassador to the UN showing a picture of his soldiers helping civilians…except that the photo is from Iraq.

It’s about time we realize that the world is no longer, if it ever was, the back yard of the West, and it’s up to the West to mow the grass and pull up the weeds. It’s not up to Obama. The Mideast is going through a cataclysmic realignment, and it will have to play out on its own terms. No amount of Western hand-wringing or silly, inappropriate and insulting comparisons to the Holocaust of World War II will make any difference.

What will make a difference will be aid to the survivors and the refugees. Within two hours this weekend, Israeli demonstrators and their backers contributed $100,000 to that cause. Imagine what governments could contribute if they started thinking primarily in humanitarian terms and not military terms.

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