10 Compelling Realpolitik Assessments of Syrian Scenario
1) Kevin Carson
In short, the United States simply does not give a rip about Saddam, Assad, or anyone else using chemical weapons or committing war crimes of any kind. The US routinely supports regimes that engage in war crimes — and then publicly condemns them for war crimes only when they stop taking orders from Washington or otherwise become a liability. War crimes by official enemies are just a propaganda point for selling wars to the public.
By one count, the United States has fought some 70 wars since its birth 234 years ago; at least 10 of them major conflicts. "We like war... we are good at it!" the great, insightful comedian George Carlin said some two decades ago, during the first Gulf War. "We are not good at anything else anymore... can't build a decent car or a television, can't give good education to the kids or health care to the old, but we can bomb the shit of out any country..."
Strikingly, not only do bomb-Syria folk fail to think seriously about geopolitical matters – they actively brush aside such pesky complex questions in their pursuit of the instant moral hit that comes from dropping a bomb on evil. ...
Think about what is being said here: that it doesn’t matter if our attack on Syria doesn’t succeed (at whatever it is meant to do, which no one has spelled out), or even if it intensifies the bloodshed and chaos in that benighted nation. All that matters is that we in the West add physical weight – in the shape of bombs – to our ‘moral impulse’. Such blasé barbarism was taken to its logical conclusion by Norman Geras, co-author of the pro-war Euston Manifesto, when he wrote: ‘Since it is urgent that we respond somehow, out of solidarity, of our “common human heritage” with the victims, action must be taken even if it means meeting chaos with chaos and (by implication) that the chaos we cause turns out to be worse than the chaos we’re trying to bring to an end.’ (My emphasis.)
The US, British and French governments have engaged in a decade of constant lies and war crimes around the world. The intermittent imperialist adventures of these capitalist powers over the past century have now subsumed into a seamless, never-ending state of permanent war on the world, as American fascist ideologues have long salivated for.
Syria is but their latest slaughter house, having unleashed a covert terror campaign on that country for the past two and half years using an array of mercenary death squads to topple the sovereign government of President Bashar al-Assad.
We now await phase two of the bloody Syrian operation – outright aerial bombardment and missile strikes, where the US, Britain and France act as the air force for the death squads on the ground. It’s an outrageous re-run of NATO’s regime change sacking of Libya during 2011.
Ten years ago, Washington and Britain launched a war on Iraq that resulted in as many as one million dead and an entire country still in ruins. That genocide was based then on blatant lies and fabrications concocted by the US and Britain. There is no dispute about that.
The world knows that the American and British governments indulged in an audacious hoax. Since then the world has not known one day of peace as the US and its cabal of allies launch murderous attack after murderous attack on one or another country.
Now the US, Britain and France are preparing to move from covert terrorism in Syria to all-out war – a war that could engulf, not just the region, but the entire world. The grotesque spectacle of those criminal regimes posing as upholders of international and human rights is sickening beyond words.
Pathological liars can’t help themselves even when they sound ridiculous. Washington, London and Paris are telling the world that they are preparing a “carefully calibrated” blitz on Syria to “save civilians” and not aimed at “regime change”. Just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Mali where the West is conducting “humanitarian work”.
Now we have those dogs of war once again baying for blood in the halls of Parliament and Congress and from the hollow trumpets of our media, telling us we must hit Syria with the life-saving benediction of our bombs and missiles. And once again the US is the alpha dog, the leader of the pack, stationing destroyers in the Mediterranean, issuing threats, cobbling together a “coalition of the willing,” another name for a band of cutthroat, neocolonial pirates posing once again as lovers of humanity and saviors of the poor, the oppressed, the godforsaken “wretched of the Earth.” A glance at the historical record of these self-ordained peacemakers should be enough to make anyone weep with shame for the suffering they have inflicted, the lies they have told, the horror upon horror they have visited upon the innocent in their quest for hegemony over Heaven and Earth.
Car bombs, suicide bombers, oppressive poverty—these are only a small sample of the horrors that have resulted from our invasion of Iraq. Our military’s use of depleted uranium, white phosphorous, and other toxic munitions during the invasion and subsequent 8-year occupation have contributed, if not caused, an alarming increase in birth defects among Iraqi infants, particularly those born in the cities of Basra and Falluja where US forces conducted major offensives against the Iraqi resistance.
The men and women who either voted for, authorized, or master-minded the invasion of Iraq (and before that, Afghanistan) have shown no remorse for their decisions and no compassion for their victims. Yet now some of these very same people want to do it all over again—this time to the people of Syria—as though the only lesson learned from our ongoing interference in the Middle East is that there is no such thing as too much bloodshed, particularly if its their blood and not ours.
6) Shamus Cooke
The rats are jumping ship. Obama’s strongest allies can’t stomach the stench of lies that are the foundation of the war effort against Syria. Even England, whose entire foreign policy is reduced to asking “how high?” when the U.S. says “jump,” opted to stay grounded for Obama’s war drive.
Obama has offered zero evidence that the Syrian government is responsible for the most recent chemical weapons attack. UN investigator Carla Del Ponte blamed the U.S.-backed rebels for a previous chemical weapons attack, so if one were to presume guilt, it would flow towards the rebels.
While foreign nations instantly recognized Obama’s war song as a plagiarism of President Bush’s lyrics used to attack Iraq, sections of the American public have been fooled by Obama’s mellowing tone. The soft, reassuring sound of “limited strikes” that will last “hours, not days” has a calming effect on the nerves of the American public, who are essentially being told that Syria needs a light slap on the wrist for being “bad,” after which everything will return to normal; no U.S. troops need die. No big deal, really.
No matter how “limited” the strike, bombing a foreign nation is a major act of war. In fact, after WWII the Nuremberg trial concluded that the Nazis’ “supreme international crime” was not genocide or holocaust, but waging aggressive war, since all other war crimes were spawned from this original sin. Of course, Obama’s aggressive war plans involve more than tossing a couple of missiles at some Syrian tanks. That is why he’s moved five Navy destroyers into the region.
It has widely been speculated that the real intention of attacking Syria is to prop up Obama’s ailing rebels, who have received massive U.S. support in the form of guns, training, and money, for —according to The New York Times — almost two years now, and possibly longer. It’s an undisputed fact that Islamic extremists militias are the most powerful fighting forces in the opposition to Assad; if he falls then they will be in power.
After the Libyan example, the UN is immune to Obama’s lies. So now the hardest part about waging war against Syria is starting it. And after the war foot is in the door, the logic of war immediately takes over, which instantly creates new, unforeseen dynamics, usually in the direction of expansion. It’s very possible that this “unforeseen” element of war is exactly what Obama is planning on.
It’s very possible that Obama is trying to provoke a strong reaction from Syria to give the U.S. public a “real” reason to escalate the war. Any attack on Syria also has the possibility of bringing Iran into the conflict, since Iran and Syria have a mutual defense pact. And this may be the ultimate goal: to provoke Iran into getting involved militarily, so that the U.S. would have a justification to expand the war into Iran, which has been in the U.S. crosshairs for years.
If Obama attacks Syria at this point, he’ll have fewer allies than did Bush in Iraq. Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, had the audacity to soil the ground where Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke 50 years earlier at the 1963 March on Washington; Obama sang the praises of the great peacemaker as he planned war against Syria.
Two decades of jobs offshoring has left the US with a third world labor force employed in lowly paid domestic nontradable services, a workforce comparable to India’s of 40 years ago. Already the “world’s sole superpower” is afflicted with a large percentage of its population dependent on government welfare for survival. As the economy closes down, the government’s ability to meet the rising demands of survival diminishes. The rich will demand that the poor be sacrificed in the interest of the rich. And the political parties will comply.
Is this the reason that Homeland Security, a Nazi Gestapo institution, now has a large and growing para-military force equipped with tanks, drones, and billions of rounds of ammunition?
How long will it be before American citizens are shot down in their streets by “their” government as occurs frequently in Washington’s close allies in Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain?
Americans have neglected the requirements of liberty. Americans are so patriotic and so gullible that all the government has to do is to wrap itself in the flag, and the people, or too many of them, believe whatever lie the government tells. And the gullible people will defend the government’s lie to their death, indeed, to the death of the entire world.
If Americans keep believing the government’s lies, they have no future. If truth be known, Americans have already lost a livable future. The neocons’ “American Century” is over before it begun.
In summing up its findings, the report admits that its “assessment” falls “short of confirmation,” while promising, “We will continue to seek additional information to close gaps in our understanding of what took place.”
In other words, Washington is launching a war based on unconfirmed allegations and speculation that it has fashioned into a pretext for military aggression. Moreover, it has no interest in confirming its trumped-up charges, dismissing the investigation on the ground in Syria by UN weapons inspectors as “irrelevant,” even as they began interviewing Syrian soldiers suffering the effects of “rebel” gas attacks.
If one seriously examines the language of this report, it is clearly a crooked lawyer’s brief. The words are carefully chosen. “The United States government assesses with high confidence” that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack”—in other words, we are not sure.
One could not convict an individual of a third-rate burglary on the basis of such evidence in a US court of law, where the standard is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet the United States government is proposing to use it as the justification for launching a bombardment on Damascus in which thousands will lose their lives.
Not one word of this is to be believed. If one really wanted to know what happened on that day, it would require the interrogation of the CIA, Mossad and Qatari and Saudi intelligence agents who are arming and directing the murderous operations of the anti-Assad forces and undoubtedly played the leading role in organizing the chemical weapons provocation to lay the groundwork for US military action.
... US imperialism has the least right to preach morality in the Middle East or anywhere else on the planet. Over the past decade of war it directly killed tens of thousands Iraqis, including through the use of depleted uranium munitions and white phosphorus shells, while creating the catastrophic conditions that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands more.
What were napalm and Agent Orange, massively deployed during the war in Vietnam that claimed over 3 million lives, if not chemical weapons? And it is US imperialism alone that has employed the most horrific of weapons, the atomic bomb, killing nearly a quarter of a million Japanese civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Every war it has waged over the past period has been based on lies, from the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident in Vietnam to the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The impending war on Syria is no exception.
9) James Petras
It’s a dictatorship stupid! There is nothing ‘constitutional’ here. That abused document has become presidential toilet paper! Legal hacks and whores scratch their backsides and regurgitate the previous illegal executive orders in order to ‘legitimize’ new arbitrary powers to declare war.
The voters of thousands of local, state and federal officials are ignored. Who even bothers to describe the US as a democracy except during the theater of elections? War has become the ‘prerogative’ of the President, we are told by the propagandists. Waging sequential wars is the favored alternative to building a national health system for the scores of millions of Americans without access to adequate medical care. When the President mouths his moral platitudes most Americans ignore him, while others jeer, curse and wish he would choke on his rank hypocrisy.
The public’s rejection of the Obama’s push for war against Syria is another example of the growing limits of mass propaganda. In the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the US public supported the invasion of Afghanistan and, to a less extent, the war in Iraq – once troops were sent. But as the costly, endless wars and occupation ground on, and new wars spread; and as the police state (and abuses) expanded and domestic living standards plunged, the public drew back and became wary. The domestic economic and social crisis drove the message home: domestic decay results from imperial wars. No amount of empty rhetoric or high powered Zionist lobbying for more wars on behalf of the state of Israel will convince Americans to continue sacrificing their lives and treasure and their children’s and grandchildren’s future living standards to this endless bloodletting, spiraling costs and devastating political and economic consequences.
... The editorial writers of the imperial ‘mass media’ smell ‘trouble in the empire’. They have started to quote skeptical military officers and experts … who have posed a few rather timid questions, including retired Generals who ask, “What will be the consequences of bombing the al-Assad government and aiding al Qaeda in the region?”.
When Obama declares his ‘red line’: the American public senses the ‘big lie’! Deception by the mass media and White House is losing its force. The majority of Americans are fed up with the fabrication of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that provided a pretext for the invasion of Iraq, the phony ‘mass rapes (the obscene and racist reports of Gaddafi handing out tons of Viagra to his black “African mercenaries”) and other fake atrocities’ in Libya and the blatant cover-up of Israeli land grabs and ethnic cleansing against the native Palestinian population.
The specter of economic insecurity, of life-long debts and precarious employment stalks the cities and towns of America. A whole generation will be lost. There is anger and fear at home directed against the current push for new wars abroad and their most visible propagandist: President Barack Obama. The Obama regime is facing ‘a fall’ in this groundswell of disgust among the people. Will Obama’s handlers and willing accomplices crawl back to their Washington think tanks? Will the oligarchs decide the Obama ‘product’ has exceeded its ‘shelf life’, is no longer useful, has lost its appeal to the public, and is too narcissistic? Will the oligarchs decide that there have been one too many ‘wars for Israel’? (Oh, my god, how did that one slip in?) Will they realize that their puppet has not focused enough attention on ‘rebuilding America’? Soon there will be a new election: All aboard! The people have spoken! It’s time to trot out the special new presidential product — one less effusive and more mainstream — on order from the oligarch’s puppet factory!
10) Linh Dinh
As in so many other wars, the US must save civilians by killing or maiming them, as well as poisoning their environments for centuries. Though the US routinely targets civilian infrastructures such as electrical stations and water treatment plants, and uses war means that murder long after the last bullet is fired, as in cluster bombs and depleted uranium, for example, it is now acting livid over Assad’s alleged use of sarin.
But in his ketchup-bleeding heart, Kerry knows full well that America’s aggression against Syria is not over sarin but natural gas. First of, Syria’s biggest supporter, Russia, is the world’s leading exporter of this stuff, and supplies Europe with nearly 40% of its needs, so that’s a lot of leverage, Watson. If overly irked by America’s puppets in NATO, Russia can retaliate by turning off the gas, as has been done several times already.
A war on Syria, then, is an attack on Russia itself, and that’s why Russian warships are patrolling the Mediterranean. Countering the American menace, Russia will certainly be no silent spectator, and to show support for Russia and Syria, a Chinese warship has also shown up, with more coming. Though Washington talks of a “warning shot across the bow” or “tailored strike,” a quickie hit and run that won’t distract too much from the exhilarating start of football season, World War III might just erupt, for we haven’t been this close to universal calamity in half a century.
[cross-posted on open salon]