Assad denies using barrel bombs in Syria

Jeremy Bowen: What about barrel bombs, you don’t deny that your forces use them?

Bashar al-Assad: I know about the army, they use bullets, missiles, and bombs. I haven’t heard of the army using barrels, or maybe, cooking pots.

Bowen: Large barrels full of explosives and projectiles which are dropped from helicopters and explode with devastating effect. There’s been a lot of testimony about these things.

Assad: They’re called bombs. We have bombs, missiles and bullets… There is [are] no barrel bombs, we don’t have barrels.

Just to be clear about how crude barrel bombs are, watch the way they get dropped:

And the results:

And to the whataboutists who say, “But what about America’s use of drones and the civilians they kill?” I would respond: If you are appalled by the unnecessary loss of life and destruction caused by CIA drones, that’s all the more reason to be appalled by the Assad regime’s indiscriminate violence.

Those who are outraged by the fact that the U.S. has killed hundreds of innocent civilians through drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and yet for whom the vastly more extensive carnage in Syria has somehow become little more than background noise in a world at strife, might ask themselves what became of their humanitarian impulses?

There comes a point at which selective outrage shuts down the very thing out of which it was born: empathy.

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