Religion Professor Stephen Stern wrote an Op-Ed for the Patriot-News in which he argued that the U.S. cannot stand by and watch as tragedy unfolds in Syria.
From the Patriot:
“Morality today is the same it was yesterday, and indeed the same as it was the day before yesterday, the same after Auschwitz, during Auschwitz, and centuries and millennia before Auschwitz,” said Raul Hilberg at the University of Oregon in 1996. Hilberg’s words came to me as I read former Clinton Cabinet member and UC Berkeley Professor Robert Reich’s recent Facebook post arguing that U.S. credibility is no reason to bomb Syria.
“Time and again over the last half century,” Reich writes, “American presidents have justified so-called surgical strikes because the nation’s credibility is at stake…”If that’s the reason for striking Assad, Reich is right. It’s not a good reason, morally speaking.
But striking Assad should not be about U.S. credibility or based solely on our strategic interests, although I understand they cannot be ignored. Striking Assad is about Syrian lives, and should not be obscured by crippling fears of U.S. hypocrisy and past foreign policy failings. Fear and past failures are not an excuse for inaction, not this time.