PG columnist Dan Simpson presents a voice of sanity on Syria

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At a time when most media pundits toady to the seats of power, the Post-Gazette is exceedingly privileged to enjoy the thoughtful and courageous commentary of PG associate editor Dan Simpson. Mr. Simpson’s recent column urging the U.S. government to reverse course on Syria (“Switch Sides in Syria,” Feb. 19) is a shining example of the audacity to place brazen truth ahead of expediency. Would other media savants show the same integrity!

Mr. Simpson correctly challenges the arrogance of American power, the notion that the United States should throw its overt and, too often, covert weight into the affairs of other countries. We may widely disagree on the worthiness of the Assad government, but anyone who respects the rights of national self-determination should insist that the U.S. government has no business deciding Syria’s future.

As in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria, U.S. meddling has only served to strengthen and provoke America’s putative enemies. Thousands of fanatical religious zealots have flocked to Syria to violently shape the country’s future with the understanding that the United States and its allies will assist and encourage them. This intervention is neither democratic nor in the interest of Syria’s citizens. And, as Mr. Simpson points out, it’s not in the interest of the United States and its citizens either.

Perhaps oil politics has forged unsavory links by our leaders to medieval, rights-abusing Middle Eastern fiefdoms that mount crusades against Syrian secularism. But no honest commentator can escape the shame of this rank opportunism and its ugly consequences.

We are fortunate to have a voice like Dan Simpson, unafraid to speak against a malignant foreign policy.

Point Breeze

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