“Our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.”
I do assess with varying degrees of horror (some of the varying degrees rather high even) that a lot of people are going to die. And how dare they die from chemical weapons when they should be dying from hellfire missiles and cluster bombs and napalm and depleted uranium and white phosphorous. We have a responsibility to protect these people from dying of the wrong type of weapon and in too small numbers.
I’m in Dallas protesting the rehabilitation of our last criminal president because of the precedents he set for our current criminal president. So, precedents are on my mind. One precedent for an illegal humanitarian NATO war on Syria is, of course, the illegal humanitarian war on Libya two years ago. And the pair of precedents (Libya and Syria) will put the target of the neocon/neoliberal cooperative war project squarely on Iran.
Syria will suffer, of course. There will be no more an example of a humanitarian war that actually benefitted humanity after Syria than before. The precedent will not be one of having accomplished something, but of having gotten away with something.
For some truly illuminating background on what was done to Libya, and some relevant discussion of what awaits Syria (if we don’t prevent it), I recommend Francis Boyle’s new book, Destroying Libya and World Order.
Boyle served as a lawyer for the government of Libya repeatedly, over a period of decades, more than once successfully preventing a military assault by the United States and the United Kingdom. Boyle details the aggression toward Libya of the Reagan administration: the lies and false accusations, the sanctions, the provocations, the assassination attempts, the infiltration, the blatant disregard for international law.
Boyle’s history brings us up to and through the 2011 assault, and traces its precedents to a very similar war over a decade earlier in Bosnia. Boyle finds the unconstitutional and illegal assault on Libya a clear impeachable offense for President Obama. And why would we think otherwise? Only because we let Clinton and Bush get away with everything they got away with. It would seem unfair now to impeach Obama for a crime his predecessors committed as well.
But past, as well as current, presidents can be impeached, censured, prosecuted, and/or publicly shamed. Five of them came to Dallas today; there shouldn’t be any trouble finding them. And the criminal attack on Libya can be treated as the crime it was. The excuse of protection was used to quite openly pursue the overthrow of a nation’s government, bombing large numbers of civilians in the process, while arming brutal thugs and creating predictable blowback in neighboring nations as well.
In contrast, in Bahrain, nonviolent pro-democracy activists are left to their own devices as a U.S.-backed dictatorship jails, tortures, and murders them.
In Syria, the United States has worked against peace and for violence. That violence is not a justification for further and heightened violence. And every member of an intelligence “community” that announces that Syria might possibly have used a chemical weapon should be doing community service for the people of Fallujah and Basra and Baghdad, not prodding the world’s only stupor power into another genocide.
Photo by *Fede* under Creative Commons license