To go or not to go to Syria: that is the question. But should the U.S. use military force against the Assad regime, at least it will be for humanitarian reasons as the Syrian authorities allegedly used chemical weapons against its own people.
Humanitarian, really? If humanitarian reasons motivated intervention against a country that doesn't represent an immediate menace, as Obama implied, then the U.S. should have sent their military much more often during the 20th century, when many populations were victimized.
1. Armenian Genocide, 1915-18
Following decades of restriction and murder, including deportation and complete disarming of the population, the Turkish authorities in the Ottoman Empire massacred over 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. Even though there were several reports of the horrendous actions of the Ottoman authorities, the U.S. and allies did nothing more than talk about it without acting.
2. Ukrainian Famine, 1932-33
Following the megalomaniac dreams of former Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin to control all the former czarist lands, especially fertile Ukraine, Joseph Stalin forced the collectivization of all farms in Ukraine. Since the Ukrainians refused, he starved them. About 7 million of them. And since the propaganda machine was doing overtime, no one talked about it in the news and no Western government acted to help the population.
3. Nanking Massacre and Rapes, 1937-38
In Asia, World War II started in 1937 when Japan invaded China. Upon reaching the then-capital of Nanking, the Japanese military killed 300,000 people, about half city's population. It included not only the massacre of prisoners of war, but also raping of at least 20,000 women and girls. Even though the Japanese authorities "proudly" reported their exploits the massacre made the New York Times front page – no government lifted a finger to help the Chinese.
4. The Holocaust, 1938-45
Ron Paul was ridiculed when he said he wouldn't have authorized military actions against Nazi Germany to rescue the Jews. In other words, he would have acted just like most Western governments, who refused to assist Jews during their mass immigration in the 1930s. And even when the "Final Solution" was underway, the Allied nations did little to stop the extermination of over 6 million Jews.
5. Hungarian Revolution, 1956
Hungary was trying to become a neutral state like neighboring Austria in 1955. Hungarians were tired of its resources being pillaged by Moscow, so they revolted against the communist regime in 1956. It was promptly quelled by Soviet authorities, who barely received any condemnation as Western countries were too busy with the Suez Canal crisis. The most that was done was a resolution before the United Nations General Assembly, which had little effect since no observers were admitted in Hungary.
6. Prague Spring, 1968
Following half a year of progressive liberalization of Czechoslovakia, Moscow decided to put an end to it by invading Prague. The only things Western powers did to condemn this invasion involved reprimanding the Russians and generating a UN resolution
7. Khmer Rouge Massacres in Cambodia, 1975-79
Thanks to U.S. bombardment of eastern Cambodia and its support of a coup to oust the ruling monarchy, Pol Pot and his communist comrades seized power in 1975 amidst instability and corruption in the capital of Phnom Penh. His communist regime was more than brutal. Just like China's Chairman Mao, he forced the collectivization of agricultural land and forced people to work themselves to exhaustion in the fields. He was able to kill over 2 million people, mainly minorities living in the country including Chinese and Vietnamese.
8. Tiananmen Square, 1989
The peaceful protests started in April 1989 and were brutally repressed in June of the same year by a Chinese government that refused any and all reformation out of fear that would make it could cause its grip over the population to weaken. As a means of retaliation, Western countries did ... nothing, although foreign investment in Chinese industry dropped.
9. Tamil Massacres, 1990
September of 1990 was a terrible month for Tamils, a minority group in Sri Lanka. Nearly 350 civilians were killed by the Sri Lankan army. Still, Western countries did not say a condemning these attacks
10. Algerian Civil War, 1990s
It all started with the rise in popularity of the Islamic Salvation Front in 1991, which the army didn't want to get into power. It cancelled the election in 1992, after which was followed by a bloody guerrilla warfare by Islamic groups. Thousands were killed without any word from Western powers.
11. Khojaly Massacre, 1992
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was fought by the Armenians who were living in the Azerbaijan region. An Armenian ethnic force, supported by a Russian Motor Rifle Regiment, killed 613 civilians. No U.S. official has offered Azerbaijan any support for that tragedy.
12. Georgian Ethnic Cleansing, 1992-93
Abkhazia, an autonomous region of Georgia, was getting overrun by other ethnic groups since it was incorporated to the USSR in 1926. Separatists in the region, allegedly supported by Russians, started expelling and killing Georgians from the region. Although Europeans and U.S. authorities recognized the actions as ethnic cleansing, they did nothing to stop it.
13. Rwanda Genocide, 1994
Following decades of ethnic tensions between the Hutus (the majority ethnic group in Rwanda) and the Tutsis, the Hutus began their systematic massacres of some 800,000 Tutsis after the death of Cyprien Ntaryamira, the first popularly elected Hutu president of neighboring Burundi, whose plane was shot down by a missile. Westerners were quick to evacuate their personnel while completely ignoring the Tutsis. Repeated calls for help from Roméo Dallaire, who headed a U.N peacekeeping mission, were not heard until after the massacres.