Why Does the U.S. Keep Ignoring Syria's Villainy?

(Kansas City Star) Joel Brinkley - For years, Washington has worked under the premise that, while Syria is unquestionably problematic, it is at least stable. Another government might be worse. But how could any new government be worse? Since the Iraq war began, Islamic extremists have crossed Assad's border by the busload, in full view of U.S. spy satellites. He sells missiles to Hizbullah, the terrorist group in southern Lebanon and avowed enemy of Israel and the U.S. Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted Hizbullah now "has tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, more than most governments in the world" - all pointed at Israel. Khaled Mashal, the Hamas leader, actually lives in Damascus and does his murderous business openly from a storefront. American intelligence shows that Syria has a vast store of chemical weapons. Assad pursued a secret nuclear-weapons development program, until Israel bombed it in 2007. Compare Syria to the other states in turmoil. Egypt was Washington's best friend in the region. Tunisia's leader was praised for his cooperation with anti-terror investigations, as was Yemen's. Libya gave up its nuclear and chemical-weapons programs at Washington's urging. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. In fact, all of the other nations in play have tried to be American allies. To be sure, all of them have horribly oppressed their own people. But in recent years none has openly worked against Washington, as Syria does even now.

2011-04-20 00:00:00

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