The chemical attack video: We’ve seen this movie before
Democrats and Republicans alike— on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Congress, in the liberal and conservative mainstream media, in our intelligence services and in basically every think tank in Washington— have suddenly aligned on a single point of agreement; America must go to war against Syria immediately. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot continue to lead that country; he must be overthrown today.
Assad is an “evil man”, they tell us. His latest crime, according to them, is either a chlorine or sarin gas attack carried out by his army over last weekend against the rebel-held town of Douma in the suburb of Damascus. Assad’s “poisonous gas suffocated children” videos and pictures of the aftermath of the alleged attack were all over the Internet, went viral on social media and are horrifying. Everyone decided that Assad is a monster, he must go.
That’s the story almost everyone in power claims to believe; it is the push for war against Syria which has united politicians on both sides. Lindsey Graham on the far right and Howard Dean on the extreme left typically agree on very little, in fact not much at all. But all the sudden they are both calling for war in Syria.
Graham is demanding massive attacks on the Syrian military, while Dean is going even farther than that. On twitter, Dean called President Trump “a wimp” for merely sending thousands of troops and launching tons of bombs on Syria. That’s not enough for the liberal Howard Dean, whom you may remember when he ran for president as the peace maker candidate. Now Dean wants to wage a total war on Syria.
Misinformed television and political pundits, of course, strongly agree with the decision to go to war. The so called analysts at MSNBC, for example, stressed that its far more important for American troops to fight in Syria than it remain here and protect American borders. It is almost the American Jihad.
Trump has to take action in Syria, everyone nods “wisely.” That should make us nervous; universal bipartisan agreement on anything is usually the first sign that something deeply unwise and dangerous is about to happen, if only because there was nobody left to ask skeptical questions.
And we should be skeptical, starting with the alleged poisonous gas attack itself. All the geniuses tell us that the Syrian president killed those children. Do they really know that for sure? Of course not. They don’t really know that; they’re making it up. They have no real idea of what happened over the weekend in Douma in eastern Ghouta, 6,000 miles away.
Actually, every side in the Syrian civil war possess chemical weapons. The important question that should be asked is how would using chlorine gas last weekend to poison his people benefit Assad’s government? The obvious answer is it wouldn’t. Assad’s forces had been winning the war in Syria and the Trump administration just announced it had plans to pull American troops out of Syria after it defeated ISIS there. That’s very good news for Assad and about the only stupid thing he could do to reverse it and to hurt his progress would be to use poisonous gas against children.
“He did it anyway,” they tell us and insist that he is evil and we’re supposed to believe it, no question asked. Keep in mind this is the same story they told us last April. Do you remember that?
it was almost exactly a year ago when the Trump administration announced it was no longer seeking to topple President Assad from power and regime change was no longer the U.S. policy, so the usual workhorse in Washington started squealing and days later Assad supposedly used sarin gas in northern Idlib; and there was a video to prove it as well.
The U.S. was quick to bomb a Syrian air base in response to that lie. At the time only few people asked what seemed like the most obvious question: Are we really sure that Assad did that? It was strangely timed and counterproductive to him and his advancing forces. We were told to shut up, of course they are sure, what an unpatriotic question to ask. But of course they were lying. Two months ago, Secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted that we still have no proof that Assad’s forces used sarin gas last year in town of Khan Sheikhoun in the northern Idlib province. It turned out that the story was a mere fabrication and propaganda designed to manipulate Americans and Westerners just like much of what it is happening now.
It seems like we’ve seen this movie before and we know how it ends.
But just for the sake of argument, let’s say they’re not lying this time. Let’s assume that Assad did it; would that be worth starting a new war to overthrow his government, a war which would certainly result in unprecedented chaos in which hundreds of thousands would die? Americans should care about that. Some of the dead would be American servicemen. The new war would cost Americans tens of billions of dollars, maybe hundreds of billions. The question is would it make America safer? Would it stabilize the region?
Let’s examine how the regime changes worked in Iraq and Libya. “It doesn’t matter,” say leaders on both sides of the aisle, in the media and everywhere else. “Atrocities like this cannot be tolerated.”
O.K., but let’s be real. America tolerates atrocities like this all the time. For example, there is a devastating famine killing children in Yemen right now; the Saudis’ continuous bombing of that poor nation is killing men, women and children and causing that famine to spread. Should we drop tomahawks on Riyadh in response to these atrocities or should we wait until it is on YouTube and social media? What about the horrendous massacres committed daily against the Rohingya in Burma and what about the mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israelis?
America can’t conduct its foreign policy in response to viral videos or pictures in the age of “fake news.”
The reality is that Syria is a very complicated place at this time. With Assad gone, who would run that country? Does Washington have another strongman in mind to install or is it our hope that a stable democracy would magically appear in the wake of this protracted civil war. And who exactly are these “moderate” rebels we are always hearing about, the ones America is supporting with our tax dollars? Well, a lot of them turned out to be extremists and fanatic killers.
For example, the city where the chemical attack allegedly just occurred is controlled by the Jaish al-Islam (army of Islam) a militant group that has called for establishing an Islamic state in Syria. The group’s founder called for exterminating all Shi’a Muslims, Christians and Alawites in the country. Now America is being pushed to wage a new war on this group’s behalf? Why is that exactly? In 2013, when the Syrian civil war was still in its early days, one on-looker weighed in on twitter, saying in part, “We should stay the hell out of Syria. The rebels are just as bad as the current regime. What will get for our lives and billions of dollars? Zero.”
In another tweet he said, “Let the Arab League take care of Syria. Why are these rich Arab countries not paying us the tremendous cost of such an attack?”
In yet another tweet he said, “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict?”
The person who wrote that was Donald trump and he was right; and that’s one of the reasons he was perhaps elected president. Now the same people who are responsible for the dying American middle class, unprotected American borders and endless pointless wars in countries you could not even find on a map are telling this president he’s got to overthrow Assad for reasons that are both unclear and demonstrably dishonest.
And by the way, it may happen, but before it does Congress ought to consider a brand new constitutional amendment. Let’s call it the Lindsey Graham Amendment. Here’s what it would say: Congress shall topple no government until it finishes rebuilding the last government it toppled and furthermore talk show generals shall be required to personally visit the battlefield of every war they advocate for.”
That would have an immediate positive effect; let’s hope it passes.
-This editorial includes some ideas from FOX News host Tucker Carlson’s recent commentary on events in Syria (Rewritten by The AANews editorial staff).