The Trump administration reports on the existence of a crematorium in Syria.
To burn human bodies — opponents of the Assad regime.
Trump released the satellite photos.
Because the Russians have propped up Assad.
Because the Russians have to do something.
Because this is as bad as anything since the Nazis.
Because Russia has the leverage.
Because Russia can make the difference.
Because this must stop.
Because . . . excuses, excuses.
The updated form of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s excuses.
Why couldn’t he bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz?
Or Auschwitz itself?
For the duration of FDR’s excuses, millions of Jewish bodies were burned.
Then, as now, the party to do something is the party that cares.
Does Russia care? That is not a question for us. That is a question that Russia is morally obligated to ask itself.
The question that this country is morally obligated to ask is: Do we care?
During WW II, did FDR care about the millions of Jewish bodies burned? It is increasing becoming an indelible stain on the legacy of FDR to answer: No.
That, at this point, is historically important, but also moot.
Today, based on the current horror of a crematorium, which, we honestly thought, would never happen again, we need a new set of becauses.
Because, whether we propped up Assad or not, we must act.
Because any country of basic decency must do something.
Because this is the right thing to do.
Because, yes, a crematorium, is as bad a anything since the Nazis.
Because this is not a question for “leverage” — for the slow wheels of diplomacy.
Because we can make a difference.
Just like FDR could have made a difference. With a simple bombing of the rail lines to Auschwitz.
It is time for another simple bombing in Syria, just like the one Trump did a month ago.
Now that the Trump administration has righty released the satellite photos — which are backed up by witnesses who testify to smelling the odor of burning flesh for days at a time in the area — this crematorium must be stopped.
Not to mention, the prison in which tens or scores of people are hung daily, thus “necessitating” the crematorium for Syria to be able to dispose of the evidence of its crimes, must be stopped.
The retrospective condemnation of FDR is so easy.
Is that because it’s history, and no one today need do a thing except stand aghast at the moral depravity of a president who could have saved millions of lives with a slight adjustment in his bombers’ routes?
Is that because it was Jews who were being burned?
Now, push comes to shove. A recrudescence of the worst in human history: a crematorium for human bodies. The burden lays on you, Mr. Trump. You are the president. You wanted the office. You accepted the responsibilities. However critical such matters as health care, immigration, education and other matters are, nothing tops mass murder in a crematorium.
Don’t tell us that you told Russia. We are not interested. Tell us what you yourself, in the name of the American people, are prepared to do in response to this bone-chilling news.
This newspaper ran an article a few weeks ago about a “burning pit” in Eastern Europe. The Nazis dug up their thousands of Jewish victims in one place in order to burn them — to hide the evidence of their crimes. Decades later we have museums that teach about this, we have teachers, programs, agencies and book-length, sophisticated analyses and Holocaust survivors who illuminate this for the purpose of motivating people never to do this again.
So? What purpose is there in all of this if, unbelievably, it is happening again, and the best we can do is . . . tell Russia to do something?
No. Every decent country, world power and air force with the power to end this has the moral obligation to end it.
When we initially heard, in a brief radio report, about a crematorium in Syria, our ears burned. Could this be true? Is the power-thirst in Assad abetting the blood-thirst in Assad really Nazi-like? Has this unanalyzable, ununderstandable, incomprehensible reality — a crematorium for mass incineration of innocents — actually come back? Our ears burned.
Never again. Meaning: Never again the indifference, the excuses, the delays, the evasions, that prevent action.
Because this must stop.
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