To the editor:
I am tired of hearing about Assad's regime being brutal and oppressive.
Any government, democratic or otherwise, will respond violently if a bunch of people try to overthrow it.
I have been in Syria under Assad Sr., and members of my family have been there more recently for times up to several months.
A local group I know in New York set up a school for Iraqi refugees in Damascus after the U.S. invasion.
Neither these people nor my family members nor I ever described the Syrian government as oppressive.
In contrast, there were legendary tales about Saddam Hussein's brutality. One I recall was an Iraqi family with an attractive 14-year-old daughter who were dining at a restaurant when one of Saddam's sons noticed her.
The rest of the story can be imagined.
There weren't any stories like that about Assad Jr., who was educated in England as an ophthalmologist.
My interpretation is that a rag-tag bunch of mercenaries and unemployed youth are being supported to overthrow the Syrian government by Israel, Saudi factions and some of the Gulf states for political reasons.
The "rebels" are not motivated by a desire for democracy, freedom, or women's liberation, but just want to be king so they can live like one.
There is more freedom in many non-democracies than there is in this country, readily apparent to tourists by the absence of zoning regulations.
The U.S. CIA overthrew the government of Syria in 1952, ushering in a period of chronic instability until Assad Sr. took over.
Punishing Syria while allowing Israel to displace 40,000 Palestinians with newly announced developments will increase anti-American feeling over the mideast.