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Di Leo: Tragedy and Reaction in 2017 Syria



Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 11.12.48 AM
CNN photo 

By John F. Di Leo - 

What do we know about the modern Middle East, particularly the “hot zones” like Syria, the Gaza Strip, and Iraq?

We know that people die before their time.  Old people, young people, children, even babies.  Innocent or guilty, they’re all targets of the Islamic jihadists’ war for the control of their regions, and ultimately, the world.

In Syria, for example, where we have been horrified at the murders of little children by an apparent chemical weapon attack allegedly committed at the order of Bashir al-Assad, we must remember how other children were killed the very same week, even the very same day, in separate incidents just miles away. 

What happens to all the other children who were NOT killed by that chemical weapon attack?  Well, they’re likely to be either:

1) killed by that same side in a different incident tomorrow or next week, or

2) killed by another side in a different incident tomorrow or next week, or

3) strapped into a suicide vest and sent out by their own parents to blow up a military base, or a mall, or a tour bus, or a restaurant tomorrow or next week, or

4) sent to Europe or the United States or some other country as a sleeper cell for jihad, to be activated later, perhaps years later, when he or she grows up.

This is what will happen to many of them; in some communities, even most of them. 

This is reality. It's a horrible, hellish, evil reality, but it IS reality.

And what we in the United States must remember is that it is not our fault. 

It's the fault of a bunch of caliphs, 1400 years ago, who set their culture on this evil path.  And it’s the fault of a bunch of imams and mullahs and other so-called “clerics” today, who spread jihad by teaching it in mosques and islamic community centers, and online on free webshows, and in books, and even in American prisons where we allow them to ply their evil trade as “chaplains.”

Not all islamic clerics or practitioners support these evils, of course; we all know good, decent people who happen to have been raised Muslim.

But the fact remains that only in islam – in opposition to all the major world religions – do preachers call for such evils as terrorism, suicide bombings, hostage taking, and the mass execution of innocents – and pass it off as a critical doctrine of their religion.    Christian and Jewish communities establish schools where we teach our children to read and write and do math; only islamic communities establish madrassahs where they teach their children to murder innocent strangers, and pass off such compounds as “schools.”

We in the West didn't do this.  We can't be blamed for it, and there's nothing we can do about it.

But… if you want to know who CAN do something about it…

It’s those mullahs and imams of Islam.  Yes, the ones who run those madrassahs, the ones who lead the mosques and ICCs.  The ones online as “teachers” of their adherents.   They could stage a reformation within islam to remove the barbarity from it, and formalize the decent moderation practiced by the decent muslim individuals whom we all know.  These “clerics” could end the institutionalization of sharia law. They could redefine islam as a true religion, as it claims to be, instead of the cult of death that it is today in so much of the world.

But…  do you remember what happened when General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for such a reformation, before a roomful of prominent islamic clerics, on January 1, 2015?

Egypt’s General al-Sisi sounded the call, and looked his audience in the eye.  And they looked back at him. 

And all we heard were crickets. A roomful of crickets.

Today, American airstrikes in Syria may indicate a change in our foreign policy.  But foreign policy can sometimes be a minefield, full of wrong choices, with no right choice to be had but staying out.

Wanting to help in Syria is understandable. WISHING to help is honorable. But when there are no heroes to support – only a choice of various evils, the true path of wisdom is to stay out.  In a world of 200 separate sovereign nations, wisdom requires recognizing that some of them simply have no US interest, and perhaps even no possible good end to strive for.

Tragically, today’s Syria is such a place. It has many factions, and no faction with any chance of taking power would be an improvement over the hell currently in place there.

Patriotic Americans have complained for a century that our government lights our tax dollars on fire and burns them up in Washington DC for no good end.  Well, blowing up our tax dollars overseas in million dollar bundles called “Tomahawks” – for no good end – is no improvement.

Copyright 2017 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based writer, trade compliance lecturer, and actor.  His columns are frequently found in Illinois Review


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  1. What a tragedy and history will have so many interpretations right or wrong in the mind of the reader. To do nothing would be no less than accepting the brutality of the Assad government. To ignore would be the condemnation by the liberal media. To take active participation in the reprisal for the lost innocents of Syria. We only achieve another patch of society… Unsolicited intervention in the affairs of a foreign government. To be overly aggressive, with intent to overthrow or interfere with any foreign entity. Is President Trumps intent a gesture of ire for his own political gain. Or is it an act of humanitarian need for a nation in chaos as the Mid-East has been for the past 1500 years. Personally, I am with our duly elected leader President Donald Trump 100%… Not always in concert with his remarks & actions, but I think to the dismay of his party, he is breaking the mold of good ol’ boy politics. I wish him the wisdom to make the right step in all his endeavors for the future of our country and more so for the good people of our country… Both main parties included. He’s in the twilight zone of damned if you do & damned if you don’t.

  2. John, I’m not turning a blind eye.
    I’m just saying we need to be practical, and recognize reality.
    The only thing this bombing did was blow up a few hundred million dollars worth of US taxpayer-funded bombs. That’s all.
    It won’t change the regime in Syria… it won’t save any lives in Syria… it won’t decelerate the civil war in Syria.
    Everything in Syria will remain the same because it’s a country full of bloodthirsty islamofascists who like killing people.
    I know that’s a sad fact, but it IS the fact.
    If our bombs could end the abuse, end the tyranny, end the war… if our bombs could turn Syria into a decent country like Israel… I’d support the bombing.
    But they can’t. It’s the same country this week as it was last week, before the bombing.