The Syrian Nightmare

Every liberal interventionist bone in my body is on alert after reading summaries of the UN report on human rights abuses committed by the regime of Vogue cover boy Bashar al-Assad. I realize that Western intervention is folly, and yet, if I were a member of the Arab League (and I'm not, btw), I would be arguing vociferously for armed intervention to stop this evil. Read it and weep:

- Children were also tortured, some to death. Two well-known cases are those of Thamir Al Sharee, aged 14, and Hamza Al Katheeb, aged 13, from the town of Sayda in the Dar'a governorate. They were seized and allegedly taken to an Air Force Intelligence facility in Damascus in April. They did not return home alive. The injuries described in the post-mortem report of Thamir Al Sharee are consistent with torture. A witness, himself a victim of torture, claimed to have seen Thamir Al Sharee on 3 May. The witness stated that "the boy was lying on the floor and was completely blue. He was bleeding profusely from his ear, eyes and nose. He was shouting and calling for his mother and father for help. He fainted after being hit with a rifle butt on the head."
- Testimonies were received from several men who stated they had been anally raped with batons and that they had witnessed the rape of boys. One man stated that he witnessed a 15-year-old boy being raped in front of his father. A 40-year-old man saw the rape of an 11-year-old boy by three security services officers. He stated: "I have never been so afraid in my whole life. And then they turned to me and said; you are next." The interviewee was unable to continue his testimony. One 20-year-old university student told the commission that he was subjected to sexual violence in detention, adding that "if my father had been present and seen me, I would have had to commit suicide". Another man confided while crying, "I don't feel like a man any more".
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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