Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beating The Drums Of War Again

For twelve years now, we've been conditioned to accept that we're in a state of perpetual war. So is it really much of a surprise to hear the war drums beating again, this time for Syria?

Granted, Assad is a very bad guy, and his government has been one of terrible repression and unconscionable violence against its citizens. But there's always more to the story. Unfortunately, you'll have trouble gleaning the bigger picture from our political leaders and the U.S. news media. Propaganda abounds, its purpose being to obscure the finer points in favor of gross generalities and misconceptions, all presented with intent to provoke anger and fear, which in turn will result in support for military action. Critical analysis by media "journalists" is almost non-existent. What investigative reporting that exists is being systematically stifled by an Obama administration bent on crushing dissent of any kind, through its merciless campaign to criminalize whistleblowing. 

It is becoming more true than ever that the only information we get about government activities will be coming from official government sources. But that’s OK,  they never lie, right? Oh, wait...


Here's a peek into the way this works. Last week, Fox News Sunday brought on two congressmen, a Republican and a Democrat, to help the public get used to the idea that U.S. military action in Syria is coming.

Republican Senator Corker assured the public that he is certain the Syrian government is indeed responsible for the latest chemical weapons attack, based on his careful analysis of…social media.  Hey that's good enough for me. Who needs an actual investigation?  He also assures us that "we will respond in a surgical way." This of course means cruise missiles, as the other congressman later explains. But hey, so as long as it's surgical, OK?  Nothing could go wrong with that.  He gives a blanket endorsement to the "opposition," and encourages our training of them to be upgraded from covert to "industrial strength."

Host Chris Wallace doesn't question or challenge a single word. In fact he actually admonishes Corker for suggesting that the president wait two weeks until Congress comes back to get approval for military action.  In truth, Wallace is throwing a softball to Corker so Corker can reluctantly admit the president may just have to go ahead without Congress. Oh darn.

This leads to Wallace bringing on Rep. Engel, a Democrat, who takes his cue to increase the urgency factor, saying two times in one minute: "We have to move and we have to move quickly." He thinks the president should go ahead and "get started," and Congress can just show up later and approve it.

Obviously this is what this little pre-scripted show has been leading up to: a bi-partisan expression of support for the president's decision, already made, to act unilaterally to attack Syria, based on insufficient evidence and with zero acknowledgment of conflicting views, and zero interest in considering the deeper context of the situation. Now picture this scenario being repeated in every major distribution TV network, newspaper and magazine.

The real action is behind the scenes, orchestrated in secret by the CIA and their ilk. In front of the cameras, we hear the same hypocritical rhetoric, over and over again, justifying the inflicting of violence on one Middle Eastern country after another. It's almost like they're going down a list...

Just say no. Say no to a course of action that can only lead to the deaths of more Middle Eastern civilians by American hands; a course of action which will most likely lead to the deaths of American soldiers. Don't force any more soldiers' families to sing patriotic songs in order to justify the deaths of their sons and daughters for something that has nothing at all to do with our freedom or security, and everything to do with the self-serving agendas of a privileged few.


Just say no when the government claims it is acting on "humanitarian" grounds. Nothing could be further from the truth, or more hypocritical. The United States has no high ground of humanitarian virtue to stand on, and any attempt to do so must be understood as an attempt to deceive and deflect attention from actual agendas. Do we really need to recite the bloody facts of recent history? Perhaps we do:

1960's, Vietnam - the U.S. deliberately used one of the most toxic chemicals ever created, Agent Orange, a "defoliant," at such high levels that it became a de facto chemical weapon, resulting in the death and maiming of almost a million people, with severe disabling health effects on survivors and horrible birth defects afflicting hundreds of thousands more, including our own soldiers.

1980's, Iraq -  U.S. approved the sale of anthrax, bubonic plague, etc, to Iraq, and later provided Iraq with intelligence support for its campaign to use chemical weapons against Iran, and its own people.

2000's, Afghanistan and Iraq - U.S. used napalm, cluster bombs, white phosphorus and depleted uranium, universally understood to be intolerably cruel and brutal weapons, causing devastating impact on civilian populations.

Is it unfair to blame our current leaders for the sins of the past? Perhaps, or perhaps the past informs us of the necessity to understand just how callous and inhumane our own government can be, and how easily they will lie about it. The past teaches us that we must be highly suspicious and distrustful when our leaders claim to be acting out of benevolent and humanitarian causes.


The U.S is supporting Syrian "rebel" groups that oppose the Assad "regime," even though many of the rebels have openly aligned with Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a.  Al Nusra Front, the most radical and violent group of the rebel coalition, and known to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Al Nusra is a designated terrorist organization. Sounds awfully familiar.


Secretary of State Kerry decisively condemned the Syrian government for the latest attack, even though proof of responsibility has not yet been established. Many other government officials have been rolled out to talk to the press, saying the exact same thing.

This completely ignores a mounting body of evidence that the rebels are also in possession of chemical weapons. A U.N. inspector has already stated that pretty conclusively, back in June:

The mainstream media are lining up to cheer-lead the push, just as they did in the rush to war with Iraq. Again. isn't this all too damn familiar?

You have to go to alternative outlets like Common Dreams to find intelligent, well-informed analysis and commentary providing views contrary to the official line.

Sadly, their audience is tiny in comparison to the huge reach of of the mass media.


I know the implication here is provocative: that the rebels, having chemical weapons capability of their own,  would launch an attack that would kill their own people and allow it to be blamed on the Assad government, in order to provoke the U.S and NATO to enter the conflict on the opposition side.  There is the further implication that the U.S. supported this.  Is that too unthinkable, too conspiracy-ish?  Well again, history reminds us of the horrible, tragic consequences if we fail to be suspicious of dramatic events that lead to urgent calls for U.S. "intervention"…

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