National Catholic Reporter

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We need to do something about Syria

 |  NCR Today

Every week, every day, we get new reports of deaths, killings, shootings, military repression, attacks on innocent civilians and other horrors in Syria. It is estimated that more than 5,000 people were killed in the last few months, and there's no end in sight of the repression of the Syrian government.

I just watched a CNN broadcast that featured a young Syrian opponent of the regime broadcasting through Skype that in one Syrian city, about 200 people were killed by army artillery and tank fire on Friday alone. With much emotion, the young Syrian told Anderson Cooper, "People are dying and the U.N. and others are doing nothing!"

He's right. Yes, there are some sanctions, but they do not seem to be effective. The U.N. Security Council is discussing a resolution asking for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. But no resolution, even assuming if it passed, is going to result in such resignation.

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I am not per se a proponent of the use of force or armed intervention, but something more drastic needs to be done, and done soon. I don't believe that the U.N. will act, since both Russia and China are opposed to any drastic action and would veto it. Therefore, it seems to me that perhaps NATO in conjunction with the Arab League can move more forcibly to put some greater pressure on the Syrian government to end its violent repression of its own people.

Why not blockade Syrian trade routes? And if this does not work, as in Libya, air attacks on Syrian military posts may have to be conducted. If the United States and other NATO allies along with the Arab League supported military action against Libya, then it seems to me the same could be done with an even more bloodthirsty Syrian regime. Sometimes more drastic action has to be taken to save lives. Syrians are being killed every day, and we cannot in good conscience just do nothing or very little.

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