To know what we know about how bad Bashar al-Assad's regime is, just read the State Dept.'s 2009 Human Rights report on Syria. No time? Let me summarize: "Disappearance... disappearance... detention, then disappearance... [ad infinitum]... Torture... electrical shocks... burn genitalia... whipping exposed body parts... hyperextension of the spine... asphyxiation... spinal fractures..." and my personal favorite, "The government systematically repressed citizens' abilities to change their government. In a climate of impunity, there were instances of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life." Translation: the Syrian government kills people, often after torturing them. And this was the 2009 report, written long before the recent revolt.
A little lighter reading from Vogue Magazine. Note the publication date.
From FireDogLake: a post that criticizes the State Department spokesman for not answering the question the James Rosen puts to him rather clearly, "Is the United States Government, through any programs or means, trying to destabilize the Assad regime in Syria?” Wikileaks has spilled the beans, you know, that we are, in fact, giving aid and comfort to the anti-regime elements (that would be nearly every person in Syria who isn't tied in to the elites.) P.J. Crowley's successor says, no, we're not "trying to destablilize" we are "trying to transform" to which a reporter remarks, “Explain how trying to promote democratic institutions in an undemocratic society is not trying to undermine that undemocratic society.”
Not to wander too far of the mark here, but what follows in FDL's post shows you just how far away from the ideals of self-determination the Left has gone: "What Toner fails to note is that promoting democracy often endangers the lives of those involved in promotion efforts." Um... apparently, just being a citizen with an oppinion or a Kurd with no opinions is enough to endanger your life in Syria. We could spend more time on FDL's analytical shortcomings, but suffice it to say, helping people who want to overthrow a brutally repressive regime isn't the greatest moral failure. Much higher on that ladder would be, say, "engaging" said regime, and sending it its very own ambassador. For more on the Obama Administrations utter incoherence on foreign policy, go here. Or just listen to any given speech on the subject by The One and note that it is too weak, too late, and too filled with moral equivalency (e.g., governments shouldn't use violence against peaceful protests, but even if the citizens are revolting against a regime that uses torture and disappearances, violence on their part is condemned.)
But the rest of us who aren't leftists are asking the obvious: "We're not trying to undermine the Assad regime? WHY NOT??"