My take on Bashar al-Assad: His cruelty was inevitable. Observers of the human mind have all discovered the beast within - the astonishing capacity of men (and, probably women) to justify behavior that is not condoned in civil society. In Assad's case the decline into depravity is made a bit more interesting by his education and early career. Assad graduated from medical school in 1988 and worked first as doctor. Apparently the Hippocratic oath, taken by doctors for over 2,000 years, made little impression on him. Here is a well-known quote from the oath:"I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."
Lord Acton was correct. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The University of Damascus should withdraw his degree.