Even before the Wright brothers invented powered flight, aerial assault had proven to be one of the most efficient, if indiscriminate, ways to kill human beings. Sadly, for those of us still living down below, "Death from Above" brought in a banner crop in 2012.
Almost certainly the award for the most kills from the air in 2012 goes to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. More than 50,000 people were killed in Syria last year, many of them by Assad's use of air power.
Even while he loses territory to those fighting for a free Syria because he lacks the manpower to put enough boots on the ground to hold it, he has still been able to make life unlivable in these liberated zones through aerial bombardment.
As a result, the entire region is now being destabilized by what is quickly approaching a million Syrians that have fled their country for the safety of a neighbor's and some of the oldest inhabited cities on Earth are being destroyed.
Bashar al-Assad claims that he is justified in taking civilian lives and causing this destruction because his real targets are "terrorists." Practice has shown that he regards anyone who poses a threat to the Syrian state as a terrorist.
This is capability and rational will only grow in importance to those in power as the world is increasingly divided between rich and poor. This may be the real reason no power in the world has seen fit to put brakes on Assad's wanton slaughter of those who oppose him short of his use of "a whole bunch of chemical weapons."
Almost certainly, the award for first runner-up in the "Death from Above" category for 2012 should go to US President Barack Obama, who, thanks to having more advanced technology than Assad, doesn't even have to put pilots in harm's way to kill children on the ground.
Like Assad, Obama regrets these child deaths as necessary collateral damage in the war against terrorism and like Assad, Obama makes his decisions as to who will be visited by "Death from Above" without anything recognized as "due process" in the civilized world. Both presidents claim the right to use this "license to kill" against their own citizens. Obama claims "world rights" for his "license to kill."
Is it any wonder then that President Obama has been hesitate to do anything that would put real restrictions on John Kerry's "dear friend" Bashar Assad's "license?"
For almost two years now Presdent Obama has played "good cop" to Russian President Putin's "bad cop" but they have shared the common goal of keeping Assad in power. Now that it is becoming clear that is "MISSION Impossible", it is good that the major media starts asking questions like the one below.
Yesterday the Washington Post asked this very good question:
Why did Mr. Obama overrule his advisers on Syria?
WE NOW know that President Obama’s national security team overwhelmingly supported providing arms to the rebels in Syria. On Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate committee that he and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, backed a plan that would have vetted, trained and armed selected opposition groups, which have been pleading for such U.S. support for more than a year. According to the New York Times, the strategy was developed by former CIA director David H. Petraeus and supported by former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As we have frequently argued, the rationale for such action is compelling. Syria’s civil war, which has killed more than 60,000 people, grows steadily worse and more dangerous for the United States and its allies. An opposition that once was a peaceful pro-democracy movement has been all but overtaken by jihadist organizations, including an al-Qaeda affiliate, that receive ample funding and weapons supplies from abroad. More...
The short answer to the Washington Post question is that Barack Obama has wanted to see Bashar al-Assad stay in power, although now even Obama is starting to see that just ain't possible. I gave a more detailed answer in:
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
and also spoken to this question in:
Chemical weapons use reported in Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria
I have detailed earlier how Obama vetoed any MANPADS or heavy weapons supply to Assad's opposition ["No MANPADS for you"] and now we see that Obama vetoed any chance that the US or NATO would shoulder any responsibility to protect. So in addition to the children killed from the air on Obama's orders directly in 2012, he also shares some blame for those killed by Bashar al-Assad.
Click here for a list of my other Daily Kos dairies on Syria