Syria is proving the fecklessness of words.  The United Nations is warning the Syrian government that is committing crimes against humanity.  The US says President Bashar al-Assad should go.  One country after another condemns the slaughter in the country.  But, no one is doing anything.  Words go only so far, and with dictators they never go far enough.  As the world learns time and again, strongmen are resistant to persuasion and laugh at jawboning.  They might put up a semblance of listening but their actions betray their attitude.  

It is hard to blame the US and the Europeans for staying out of the fray.  Syrian opposition, by all accounts, is weak.  They protest but they can’t coordinate action against the government.  How then can they run a country if the president is removed?  Yet, it is possible that the US will be indicted in time for not acting.  Think of the genocide in Cambodia and Africa.  The US can continue to aim useless volleys of words or it can muster coordinated opposition.  It is a hard choice while people die.  Meanwhile, it is a lesson to communicators of the limits of their skill.

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