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ICC Note: As a slaughter of religious minorities – in many cases especially Christians – are being slaughtered by extremists organizations. The world is aware of the atrocities and yet many leaders are unwilling or unable to act to stop these violent actors. The question must be asked of what it will it take for the world to really act by the motto of “never again.”

01/05/2016 Middle East (ACLJ) Outside the gates of the Dachau concentration camp, scripted on a memorial commemorating the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust, are the words “Never Again”.  Yet, modern history is haunted by acts of brutal violence from the mass killings in Kosovo, Cambodia, and Burundi to the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. American leaders continue to vow repeatedly “Never Again”; yet repeatedly fail to stop genocide.

As recent as April 2012, President Obama announced the establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board proclaiming, “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.” Yet today, the Obama Administration remains reluctant to designate the Islamic State’s (ISIS) atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria as genocide, reserving a possible “genocide” designation solely for the Yazidi community.  While it is unequivocal that the Islamic State has unleashed atrocities rising to the level of genocide against Yazidis, it is no less true for Christians and other religious minorities.

Presidents of the past have made proclamations similar to that of President Obama, yet they too failed to act in the face of genocide. In 1979, President Carter, having ignored the mass killings in Cambodia, swore, “Never again will the world stand silent…fail to act in time to prevent this terrible act of genocide.”  Five years later, President Reagan similarly swore, “I say in a forthright voice, Never Again!”  In 1991, President George H.W. Bush, after a visit to Auschwitz, was moved, as he described,  “with the determination not just to remember but also to act.”  Running against President H.W. Bush in 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned, “If the horrors of the Holocaust taught us anything, it is the high cost of remaining silent and paralyzed in the face of genocide.”  Yet during his Presidency, President Clinton apologetically admitted, “We did not act quickly enough after the killing began [in Rwanda]. . . . We did not immediately call these crimes by their rightful name: genocide.”  After the Clinton Administration failed to intervene in Rwanda, Susan Rice, the current U.S. National Security Advisor, said: “I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.” And yet history continues to prove that American leaders repeatedly fail to count the cost of inaction and apathy in the face of genocide.

Samantha Power, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in her book, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide, that “The United States had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred.” Through careful study, she debunked the argument that U.S. leaders were unaware of the horrors as they were occurring against Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Iraqi Kurds, Rwandan Tutsis, and Bosnians during the past century.

Yet in the face of an ongoing genocide at the hands of Islamic jihadists in Syria and Iraq, U.S. leaders are faced with whether “never again” will carry any meaning. To date, the United States’ response seems similar to genocides of the past century: shamefully inadequate.

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