When President Barack Obama in 2010 sent a career diplomat to Syria as ambassador, the first such appointment in five years, there was legitimate concern that the Syrian regime would see the ambassadorship as a reward for bad behavior.
The diplomat, Robert Ford, was sent only with a recess appointment because Republican senators shared those concerns. However, a recess appointment lasts only as long as the current Congress is in session, and when it expires Ford will have to leave the post.
That would be a real shame. Since his arrival, a revolution has begun in the Arab world. Ford has shown the flag for this country in the best possible way, traveling to Syria despite government attempts to keep him away from the scenes of violent repression of dissidents.
Fluent in Arabic, Ford is a spokesman for America’s traditions of liberty. He is respected by those risking their lives in Damascus, Hama and other Syrian cities.
Now, the Foreign Relations Committee has belatedly recommended Ford be confirmed as ambassador permanently.
We hope the full Senate will quickly agree with this. It would be another way the United States can express its support for the people of Syria against the dictator and his thugs.