Syrian Civil Defence members wear gas masks near the site of what activists said was a chlorine gas attack in the Idlib countryside [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
America needs unity. And if we can’t unite around the United States finally taking action after Arab children are gassed, then nothing will bring us together.
For those who waited four long years to see the US reclaim its moral mantle as leader of the free world and protector of human rights, the news that President Donald Trump had struck at the Syrian tyrant Assad was electrifying. I am well aware that many in America object to Trump, but is there a higher calling for a president than to stop mass murder?
And should we not salute bold leadership when it sends a message that genocide will not be tolerated? Just think for a moment how the Jews of the concentration camps of Europe would have felt had they seen American bombers punishing the Nazi soldiers for operating gas chambers at Auschwitz. Sadly, those bombers never came and to this day historians debate how a moral man like Franklin Roosevelt could have stayed his hand against Hitler’s machinery of death.
I am well aware that the crime of the Holocaust is unique and brooks no comparison. But poison gas is poison gas. And America had a moral and righteous responsibility to strike at the air force that dropped that poison gas. To see that Syrian air base smoldering in ruins is to believe that perhaps there is a small semblance of justice in the world after all.
Who among us has seen the images of dead Arab children in Syria over the past few days and not felt shaken to the core at the grotesque injustice? Who among us has seen the frothing at the mouth of innocent men and women, attacked by Syrian dictator Bashar Assad with Sarin gas, and wondered how the world can stand by in silence? And who among us has not felt shamed and humiliated by our own impotence? For all those objecting to Trump’s missile attack, I ask you: have you lost your moral compass?
It’s 2017 and people are still being murdered by poison gas, with the world watching in silence. And now, finally, the United States rises to the occasion and shows that human life has value. That those who devalue it will suffer enormous consequences. Kill babies and you will be killed.
Murder men, women and children and we will hunt you down to the ends of the earth. So you better think twice before you fire gas canisters.
As a man who worships God I am well aware that I am not God. We are not all-powerful. We are not omnipotent.
We cannot punish every unrighteous iniquity. We cannot strike at every bloody fiend. But we can punish the worst offenders so that others take heed. And the use of poison gas against civilians has proven to be mankind’s foremost abomination. If gassing children is not evil then the word has no meaning.
This past November Donald Trump won the election.
But it wasn’t until his attack against Assad that he became the leader of the free world.
As an American and as a member of a people who were gassed to death for three years at a rate of 10,000 per day I offer my gratitude to the president for having elevated the value of life in Syria, where more than half a million have already been murdered while the world stood by in silence.
President Barack Obama betrayed himself and his administration and debased American values by allowing genocide in Syria with absolutely no response.
Worse was his ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who had earned a global reputation for calling out previous American government officials as “bystanders to genocide” only to become one herself.
The nadir of the Obama administration was December, 2016, when Aleppo was pulverized by bombs and president Obama, with nothing to lose politically, still did nothing to stop the carnage. At the UN he orchestrated a condemnation of Israeli settlements at the Security Council while Arab children faced death from the skies.
The world will never forget his passivity in the face of such horrors.
The real sin of government officials like Susan Rice has nothing to do with the allegations of unmasking that currently pervade the news but rather their allowing 1,400 Arab civilians to die of a chemical gas attack by Assad on August 20, 2013 and then, as National Security Advisor in the case of Rice, take no action. America is the light of liberty and the beacon of democracy.
Those words ring hollow when America witnesses mass murder in silence.
President Trump has helped restore America to its human-rights luster, and Arab life to the infinite value that is the birthright of every child of God.
Trump is often accused of racism and is said to be especially hostile to Muslims. But the world will never forget that when Arab children were gassed to death one president decided that he would not spend weeks debating with Congress whether America must protect them. He stunned the world with his bold and decisive action.
And in so doing he reminded us all of the biblical injunction demanding human action in the face of murder. First, in Genesis when God says to Cain, “The blood of thy brother cries out from the earth,” and later in Leviticus in the most famous anti-genocide commandment of all: “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor.”The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom
The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @ RabbiShmuley.