Time Has Run Out for the People of The Syrian Village of Tremseh

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that Bashar al-Assad and his murderous regime would soon be gone. "The sand is running out of the hourglass," she said, and added: "There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective in their defense of themselves and in going on the offense against the Syrian military and the Syrian government's militias. So the future, to me, should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime: the days are numbered."

Well, the sand in the hourglass ran out yesterday for more than 200 Syrian civilians in the village of Tremseh, near Hama. Hama is where Assad's father -- who was ideologically committed to slaughters that took care of things all at once -- killed 20,000 people 30 years ago. His son prefers a slower-rolling massacre, 100, 200 people per day, so as not to overly excite the West:

Reports by the Local Coordination Committees, an anti-Assad group in Syria, said many Tremseh victims were shot as they tried to escape the bombardments. The group put the death toll at 200, and activists reached by telephone said it could be as many as 250. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group with contacts in Syria, said that government troops "bombarded the village using tanks and helicopters" and that the death toll exceeded 100.

One thing to note, and I hope that American policymakers are aware of this, is that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is specifically blaming the U.N., Iran and Russia for the continuing slaughter. "Responsibility for this and for previous massacres also lies with Annan, with the Russians and the Iranians, and all those states who claim they are protecting peace and stability yet stay silent and skulk away from taking any responsibility," the Brotherhood said.

Now, if you were sitting at the National Security Council, and you were resisting calls for humanitarian intervention in Syria for any number of legitimate reasons, wouldn't you think to yourself: Ah ha, this wouldn't be merely a humanitarian intervention, but an intervention that could set back Iran's hegemonic goals in the region, and an intervention that would put the United States on the side of the Sunni Arab masses?

Well, wouldn't you?

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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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