July 16, 2012
As critics accuse President Obama of a weak response to the political and humanitarian crisis in Syria, the president quietly signed an order Monday proclaiming “Captive Nations Week.”
“As individuals rise to demand their universal rights, the United States stands with them in pursuit of equality, justice, and freedom,” the president declared in the order. “And as long as there are people who live in the darkness of oppression, America will remain their steadfast friend, linked by a common dream and our common ideals.”
The proclamation, which presidents have signed routinely since Dwight Eisenhower began the practice during the Cold War in 1959, makes no mention of Syria, where forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have killed nearly 15,000 civilians in 16 months of open revolt against the regime.