by Jay Nordlinger

In Impromptus today, I quote a news item about Syria. My purpose is to make a point about diplomacy. (Frederick the Great said, “Diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments.”) But I noticed something else in the quotation, and I would like to address it here. The Associated Press spoke of “escalating violence that has killed at least 70,000 people.”

I remember the early days of what we are calling the Syrian civil war. I wrote things like, “The death toll has now reached 2,000. How much higher will it climb?” I remember, specifically, the approach of 10,000. I would write things like, “Nearly 10,000 people in Syria have been killed — men, women, and children. Syria is not a terribly populous country. How many more will be killed before the civilized world, whatever that is, steps in and stops the carnage?”

Frankly, I have not thought or read about Syria in months. (Shameful admission.) I suppose I simply accepted that nothing would be done, by anyone, about Syria, and just checked out, so to speak. I saw, just yesterday, that the toll is 70,000. Funny what you can get used to, or resigned to. (Six digits is coming, apparently.)

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