1947 is the moment original sin was committed by America on the middle east, it was the first real time they actively moved to change the political dynamics in the region in their favor, with disturbing relation to the neoconservatives ambitions today. This was the moment the American government set out to bring Democracy to Syria, and of course in the process create an ally to America to contain the Soviets in the process. Oil also had a role to play in this game too.
In 1947 there was an election due, the American government warned many people in authority not to intimidate voters, oil companies made some drafts to vote (billboard pictures telling people to vote etc). This isn't either high minded or stupid of them, as much as we like to mock the American establishment for stupidity, it has been for a long time known in the field of IR or Political Science that Democracy has all sorts of international benefits for the West. This was a disaster, warning did nothing to stop intimidation, money was used to buy votes, in general it looked very much like a 19th century British election, full of corruption and intimidation, quite a few people also died over it.
What came next was the true moment of sin though. It was decided that the elites in the country were too powerful, and so to introduce a proper democracy into Syria there would be a need to create a powerful leader who would willingly create and enforce a democratic process in the country. This led to the backing of a military leader general Za'im who promised to throw out all the corrupt influences on the political system and work towards creating an independent Democracy. The moment he got into power i am sure you can guess what happened, he went back on his promises, began a horrific campaign of intimidation and political consolidation. Eventually he was shot to bits by his lieutenants and it began a decades long series of coups, counter revolutions and general chaos that eventually led to the rise of the Baath party.
All of this is traceable back to the American action team that went in to create a dictatorship in this country, for democracy or not, their bad calculations lead to many people dead, something they are responsible even today for doing. I am not sure what is the best course of action for Syria today, but it is not a situation America can rightfully dust its hands of, whatever their means, be it economic sanctions, stern words, food and medical aid for those killed in the uprising, it needs to be done, because this isn't just Syrians being true to their nature, it is a result of American hubris in thinking they can so easily reshape the world in their image and if they want to not be ostracised by the international community for decades after they fall from grace, then they should start making reparations now while they still have the power to do something.