Tag Archives: Bashar al-Assad

Don’t know WTF you’re doing? No problem! Become a ‘war president’!

I’d say that “President” Pussygrabber is focusing on military actions right now because he has no fucking clue as to how to handle domestic affairs.

That’s true, but the larger truth, I think, is even worse than that: War is a great diversion from the fact that our corporate overlords – Pussygrabber & Co. and many others – are continuing to rob us commoners blind, through such means as government deregulation meant to increase obscene profiteering, the continuing privatization of the commons and of governmental functions (including, of course, health care, public schools and prisons), and giving even more tax breaks to the rich while the rest of us continue to pay more than our fair share of taxes.

“I’m a war president,” George W. Bush infamously declared in February 2004. Never mind that the Vietraq War that he launched in March 2003 not only was bogus and immoral, but was illegal; the unelected Bush regime committed war crimes, causing the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq, giving Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad a run for his money where body counts in the Middle East are concerned.

“War President” Gee Dubya went on to destroy the nation’s economy by the time he left office in January 2009, and, of course, not only did the Vietraq War provide war profits for Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton (and for other war profiteers), but it distracted the masses while BushCheneyCorp and friends freely looted the nation. It was great cover.

This is what it’s about these days when the United States of America goes to war.

That and since Pussygrabber is an egomaniacal man-child who would do anything to get his awful favorability numbers up, expect the remainder of whatever time Pussygrabber has left in the White House to include a shitload of saber-rattling.

Finally, of course, the Pussygrabber administration’s new-found supposedly adversarial stance toward Russia (via Syria) strikes me as a transparent, cynical attempt to try to put to rest the months-long chatter about how Team Pussygrabber has been in bed with Russia (perhaps even literally) even before the presidential election.

When the unelected Pussygrabber administration drops a MOAB on Moscow, then maybe we can believe that the supposed, awfully conveniently new hostility between Team Pussygrabber and Team Putin is real.

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Edward Snowden is the person of the year

White House, lawmakers: no clemency for Snowden

Associated Press image

Whistleblower and protester Edward Snowden is shown in a video grab from September in Moscow, where he had to flee in order to avoid political persecution and prosecution in the lawless United States of America. You can vote for Snowden for TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2013 by clicking here.

So TIME magazine is taking online votes for its next “Person of the Year.” You have 42 candidates to choose from (giving the candidates only a “yes” or “no” vote), knowing that TIME’s editors will make the final decision, regardless of how the online polling goes — of which I’m glad, since Miley Cyrus leads the online polling as I type this sentence. (Whether people sincerely want her or whether the votes for her are part of a campaign, as a joke, I’m not certain.)

The 42 candidates include the famous and the infamous, including (in no certain order) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, the Koch brothers, the Tsarnaev brothers (the brothers accused of having perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombing), Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Angelina Jolie, and, of course, Barack Obama.

(Historically, the president of the United States has been named TIME’s “Person of the Year” about once every three years on average, for fuck’s sake. With the sole exception of Gerald Ford, every U.S. president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was named “Person of the Year” three times, has been named “Person of the Year” at least once. Two-term presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama all were named “Personal of the Year” twice, so pretty much if you are the U.S. president, you’re named TIME’s “Person of the Year” at least once a term [as long as you’re not Gerald Ford…].)

TIME’s “Person of the Year” is to go to the individual who was most influential on the world stage (or at least on the American stage…), for good or for ill.

My vote for 2013’s “Person of the Year,” hands down, is for patriot Edward Snowden, who revealed to the world how much we have been spied upon illegally by the U.S. government. As I type this sentence, Snowden is the third-most popular candidate for “Person of the Year” in TIME’s online polling.

My other favorites for 2013’s “Person of the Year” include Texas pol (and, hopefully, future Texas governor) Wendy Davis (who thus far is at No. 5 in the online polling) and Edith Windsor, whose lawsuit brought about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (“DOMA”) is unconstitutional (since it is — or was, anyway).

However, Edward Snowden has had truly global significance and influence. Indeed, the United Nations next month is to consider a resolution that states “that surveillance and data interception by governments and companies ‘may violate or abuse human rights.’”

Snowden’s “crime” is that he has embarrassed the elites who unconstitutionally and illegally have spied upon Americans and others — they have directly spied illegally or they have aided and abetted such illegal spying — but which is worse: committing the crimes in the first fucking place or exposing the crimes that others have committed?

Um, yeah: The later is called “whistleblowing,” and since 2002’s “Person[s] of the Year” were “The Whistleblowers,” and since 2011’s “Person of the Year” was “The Protester,” there certainly is precedent for Edward Snowden being named TIME’s “Person of the Year” for 2013.

P.S. Since I composed the above, I read on the Los Angeles Times’ website that “A team of hackers claims it found a way to rig the [TIME magazine “Person of the Year”] poll (users are required to vote through Twitter or Facebook),” but the Times charitably adds immediately: “But Cyrus has spent the better part of the year leading the chatter on the place that matters most these days: the Internet.”

My guess is that hackers indeed were involved in putting Cyrus at No. 1, which gives me more hope for the nation…

If hackers indeed put Cyrus at No. 1, then maybe Snowden actually is in the top two, although I would think that hackers might have the desire to help Snowden out, too…

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Party hacks are giving Obama his bogus war on Syria

It was inevitable, I suppose, that the Middle Eastern nation of Syria was going to be proclaimed a “national security threat,” and the Obama regime has obliged us.

This “national security threat” is even more risible than was the “national security threat” that the members of the Bush regime claimed Iraq posed in their run-up to their Vietraq War.

At least the treasonous war criminals of the Bush regime lied to us that Iraq itself posed the “national security threat.” The war criminals and would-be war criminals of the Obama regime are lying to us that Syria is a “national security threat” by proxy — that is, if we don’t lob some missiles at Syria for no other apparent reason than to spook Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and to flex our military muscles again in the Middle East, other nations, especially Iran and North Korea (with Iraq, the other two members of the Bush regime’s “axis of evil”), might — gasp! — feel emboldened!

So, quite Orwellianly, a “national security threat” no longer means that another nation is actually poised to actually strike the United States — a “national security threat” now has been redefined to mean that it’s a “national security threat” should the U.S. maybe appear to be weak or irresolute or some other synonymous adjective in the eyes of any other “bad” nation.

Wow.

This is even worse than the Bush regime’s “pre-emptive strike” bullshit. Again, at least the Bush regime lied that the U.S. had to strike Iraq before Iraq could strike the U.S. (Iraq, of course, never had any such capability, which we all knew before the Bush regime launched its Vietraq War); we now have the Obama regime lying that we have to strike Syria so that other nations don’t strike the U.S.

What the fucking fuck?

Perhaps even more pathetic than this, though, is that very apparently whether or not the typical American supports a particular war depends upon his or her party affiliation and the party affiliation of the current occupant of the White House.

Most Democrats in D.C., if they’re not happy about the Obama regime’s plan to attack Syria just to attack Syria, don’t have the balls to stand up to the Obama regime, so they’ll keep their mouths shut. (Even my own Democratic/“Democratic” U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, I am deeply sorry to report, was one of the 10 “yes” votes on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s 10-7 vote on Wednesday to allow the Obama regime to use military force against Syria.* Et tu, Babs?)

And many (if not most) Americans who voted for Obama, primarily only because they voted for him, won’t oppose the Syria misadventure like they opposed the Iraq misadventure.

I opposed the Vietraq War because it was an unprovoked, unjust, immoral and illegal U.S.-led war upon another sovereign nation, but apparently the primary or even only reason that many if not even most so-called Democrats opposed the Vietraq War was that it was the Bush regime’s war.

To be sure, that the regime that first had stolen the White House in 2000 because enough Americans just allowed them to then went on to launch a bogus war in March 2003 (because enough Americans just allowed them to) was and remains a problem for me — the crimes of the stolen presidential election and the resultant illegitimate regime’s bogus war still have not been punished or nationally atoned for, and therefore they remain open wounds on the nation — but the Vietraq War would have been just as fucked up and wrong had it been waged by a “Democratic” president like Obama.

But progressive columnist David Sirota notes in his latest column:

… So what happened to [the anti-war] movement? The shorter answer is: It was a victim of partisanship.

That’s the conclusion that emerges from a recent study by professors at the University of Michigan and Indiana University. Evaluating surveys of more than 5,300 anti-war protestors from 2007 to 2009, the researchers discovered that the many protestors who self-identified as Democrats “withdrew from anti-war protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success” in the 2008 presidential election.

Had there been legitimate reason to conclude that Obama’s presidency was synonymous with the anti-war cause, this withdrawal might have been understandable. But that’s not what happened — the withdrawal occurred even as Obama was escalating the war in Afghanistan and intensifying drone wars in places like Pakistan and Yemen.

The researchers thus conclude that during the Bush years, many Democrats were not necessarily motivated to participate in the anti-war movement because they oppose militarism and war — they were instead “motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments.”

Not surprisingly, this hyper-partisan outlook and the lack of a more robust anti-war movement explain why political calculations rather than moral questions are at the forefront of the Washington debate over a war with Syria. …

This is red-versus-blue tribalism in its most murderous form. It suggests that the party affiliation of a particular president should determine whether or not we want that president to kill other human beings. It further suggests that we should all look at war not as a life-and-death issue, but instead as a sporting event in which we blindly root for a preferred political team. …

That’s just some fucked-up shit.

I mean, as much as I detest Repugnican U.S. senators John McCainosaurus and closet case Lindsey Graham, for instance, at least they consistently are pro-war. There isn’t a war that they wouldn’t support. (Canada? Hey, they’re too close for comfort! Sweden? Their “pacifism” is just a facade, a ruse!) McCainosaurus wants to look tough and bad-ass and so does Graham, apparently trying to overcompensate for his very apparent homosexuality by trying to create the persona of an uber-macho war hawk (it’s not working, girlfriend!).

Love them or hate them — and I hate them — but at least we know what to expect from the likes of McCainosaurus and Graham.

What can we expect from the “Democrats”? Oh, it depends upon the party affiliation of the current president!

That only a minority of Democrats in D.C. truly embody the spirit of being anti-war — which is that you don’t take the nation to war unless it really, really, really is necessary, because war is a gravely serious thing — is a testament to the extent of the moral decay of the so-called Democratic Party of today.

And don’t kid yourself; there is no fucking guarantee that lobbing missiles at Syria will remain a “limited” military operation, as the liars who comprise the Obama regime would have you believe.

The Middle East is an oil-soaked tinderbox, and you cannot drop a match anywhere there and guarantee that you’ll scorch only a “limited” patch of it.

Perhaps direct comparisons of Syria and Iraq can’t be made, but at least one disturbing similarity between the Vietraq War and what’s happening now is that over time we saw the treasonous members of the Bush regime making increasingly hysterical and hyperbolic claims about the “national security threat” that Iraq posed to the U.S. (such as the “smoking gun” coming in the form of a “mushroom cloud”), and now we are seeing the members of the Obama regime (I am regretting that I once supported John Kerry, since he now is shilling for Obama’s bogus war on Syria) making increasingly hysterical and hyperbolic claims about the “national security threat” posed to the U.S. by Syria — such as that if we don’t attack Syria, we can expect attacks from other nations, like Iran and North Korea.

The more that the war hawks ratchet up their ridiculous rhetoric, the more you know that their casus belli is for shit.

*Tellingly, of the seven U.S. senators on the committee who voted “no” on Obama’s desire to attack Syria, only two are Democrats and the rest of them are Repugnicans. Of the 1o who voted “yes,” seven are “Democrats” and three are Repugs. Newly minted Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, who should have voted “no” if he calls himself a progressive, voted “present.”

Obviously, partisanship trumps morality in D.C.

Again: This is some sick fucking shit.

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Barack Obama to attack Syria himself in Air Force One

The way that it’s going, if U.S. President Barack Obama wants to bomb Syria, he’s going to have to drop the bombs himself from Air Force One. But he won’t be lonely on his trip; he’ll have “embedded” “journalists” along with him for the ride. And maybe the French will provide some wine and cheese for the mission.

Seriously: The British Parliament’s very wise decision yesterday not to join the U.S. in another boondoggle in the Middle East is a blow to Obama (as well as to Conservative Party British Prime Minister David Cameron).*

Now all that Obama has, pretty much, is the conspicuous silence of most of his fellow Democrats (in name only), most of whom are party hacks who don’t want to buck the Obama White House but who also know that the majority of Americans don’t want a military attack upon Syria — and, of course, the corporately owned and controlled “news” media.

The New York Times on Monday declared in an editorial:

… [President] Obama put his credibility on the line when he declared last August that [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s] use of chemical weapons would constitute a “red line” that would compel an American response. After the first attacks, earlier this year, killed between 100 and 150 people, the administration promised weapons for the rebels but delayed in delivering them.

This time the use of chemicals was more brazen and the casualties were much greater, suggesting that Mr. Assad did not take Mr. Obama seriously. Presidents should not make a habit of drawing red lines in public, but if they do, they had best follow through. Many countries (including Iran, which Mr. Obama has often said won’t be permitted to have a nuclear weapon) will be watching. …

Wow. The Times widely is considered to be the thinking person’s media organization, and is widely to be considered “liberal.”**

Yet the Times’ central “argument” is that once you threaten to do something, you must go through with it — or risk being deemed “weak.” That’s a wise, high-minded stance? Even if something is a really bad fucking idea, you should go through with it anyway — to save face?

My own city’s main “news” organization, the Sacramento Bee, like the Times, also widely is considered to be center-left, yet in an editorial today the Bee proclaims that “The president has previously said there would be consequences if Syria crossed the ‘red line’ of chemical warfare. His reputation – and U.S. standing in the world – will suffer if that turns out to be an empty threat” (apparently the Bee’s editorial writers read the Times…) and “If it can be convincingly demonstrated that the recent massacre in Syria was the result of chemical weapons, and that Syrian forces were responsible for it, Obama will have to act, hopefully with a few allies.”

I’m guessing that that editorial was penned before the British Parliament yesterday voted against joining the U.S. in its latest boondoggle in the Middle East even if it definitively is demonstrated that the Syrian government used chemical weapons as charged.

AFP notes that “It is believed to be the first time since 1782 that a British government has lost a vote about military action,” which to me is a measure of what an incredibly fucking shitty idea it is to militarily attack Syria right now.***

So why are our corporately owned and operated “news” organizations gung-ho on an attack on Syria?

“Corporately owned and operated” is the key.

Corporations love war and the profiteering that goes along with it. Corporations not only benefit nicely in their war-related contracts (as well as in their ongoing regular military contracts) with the federal government, but the U.S. military often opens up other sovereign nations’ natural resources — like Iraq’s oil — to corporations for their free and unfettered exploitation.

War is bad for individual human beings, but great for corporations.

Also, of course, war is great for “news” “coverage.”

This is not new.

The Spanish-American War of 1898, Wikipedia states, “is considered to be both a turning point in the history of propaganda and the beginning of the practice of yellow journalism. It was the first conflict in which military action was precipitated by media involvement.”

Wikipedia goes on to note that “William [Randolph] Hearst, the owner of the New York Journal, was involved in a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and saw the conflict as a way to sell papers.”

I remember how the corporately owned and controlled “news” organizations handled the Vietraq War. First, they (including, of course, the New York Times’ infamous Judith Miller) for the most part uncritically repeated the Bush White House’s lies about the “reasons” to invade Iraq. Like the cowards in Congress, these “journalists” cowed to the post-9/11 hysteria and hyper-jingoism and for the most part dared not question the ever-changing “arguments” for war that the members of the Bush regime were spewing.

Then, when the invasion of Iraq that they’d wanted and pushed for actually came, they treated it like a fucking sports event, like the fucking Super Bowl.

It even had its own slogan: Shock and awe! (Actually, now that I think of it further, it probably was much more like a “professional” wrestling event…)

The “journalists” were “embedded!” in Iraq, they couldn’t tell us enough.

“Embedded,” of course, meant in bed with the White House and the Pentagon.

Sure, the Pentagon allowed the corporate media weasel-whores to feel special, rubbing shoulders with high-ranking military officials while they dutifully acted as public-relations stenographers, not as journalists.

The price for remaining “embedded,” of course, was that the “journalist” never reported anything that the Pentagon or the White House didn’t want him or her to report.

So: Our “journalists” gained some “access” but at the price of being censored. So what good was that “access” for which they had to sell themselves out? When the powers that be are tightly controlling and regulating the “access,” how meaningful can that “access” possibly be?

At this point, Barack Obama’s strongest supporters for a military attack upon Syria, apparently, are France and the American corporate media weasel-whores who want to jump into bed with him.

Former “President” George W. Bush, recall, in the post-9/11 political environment had the majority of Americans, the U.S. Congress, the British government and the corporate media weasel-whores behind him, which allowed him to launch the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War even against the wishes of the United Nations Security Council.

In this political climate, thank Goddess, I don’t see Obama pulling off any significant military attack on Syria.

If he does so anyway, it will be, I think, a Richard-Nixon-level political mistake that he and his party will regret.

*I heard former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — a war criminal who already should have been executed for his participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq — blathering on news radio this morning that if only Obama had defined the mission in Syria better, and had not “led from behind,” Britain would have jumped right on board.

Never fucking mind that maybe, just maybe, the larger issue is that after the Brits were punk’d big time with the Vietraq War and Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, they didn’t feel like being punk’d by the U.S. government again and so soon after the last time, and so this time, they ignored the White House’s cry of “wolf!”

As much as I’m not a fan of Obama and as much as I oppose his sketchy proposal to attack Syria, we can’t blame this, too, on him; the lion’s share of the blame for it rests squarely on the members of the unelected Bush regime, including Rumsfeld, of course, who lost the trust of the British over the bogus Vietraq War.

**Well, since being “liberal” these days mostly means being a Democrat in name only, a center-right sellout who changes his or her stance on important issues based upon the party affiliation of who is supporting and who is opposing those issues today, the Times actually indeed is “liberal.”

***One who is progressive and sane (which, to me, are one and the same) hopes that the majority of the citizens of the Western world finally are turning against military action as a way to resolve international (and intranational) conflicts and see that militarism almost always only benefits our plutocratic overlords, not us commoners.

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Repugnicans might unintentionally save Obama from his ‘red line’

For once, congressional Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ knee-jerk oppositional-defiant stance toward virtually everything that President Barack Obama wants to do might actually benefit the majority of Americans.

Apparently 98 Repugnican Tea Party U.S. representatives (and only 18 Democratic representatives) signed on to a recent letter to Obama that stated:

“While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate — and the active engagement of Congress — prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”

And in his own letter to Obama, Repugnican Tea Party House Majority Leader John Boehner scribbled:

“I respectfully request that you, as our country’s commander in chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy.” [Boehner’s full letter is here.]

This is, of course, a 180-degree turnaround from how a cowardly Congress rubber-stamped the Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War in October 2002. (Yes, the unelected Bush regime consulted Congress, but it was just for show; Congress did not wisely deliberate on the cons and any actual pros of the impending Vietraq War, but just gave Bush & Co. what they wanted. After all: 9/11!) Of course, admittedly, the political environment then — that of immediately-post-9/11 hyper-jingoistic hysteria — was much different than it is now.

But it’s nonetheless interesting that the war-loving Repugnican Tea Party traitors would criticize Obama’s threat of attacking Syria over a fabricated “red line” when if it were a Repugnican Tea Party president doing exactly the same thing, the majority of them of course would be on board. Their main concern isn’t that a military attack upon Syria would be misguided and ill-advised (as it would be); their main problem is that it’s Obama who has proposed it.

The inverse of that, of course, is that apparently most Democrats in D.C. apparently are too pussy to openly criticize Obama’s pathetic proposal to take “a shot across the bow” of Syria even though Obama’s “plan,” apparently, consists primarily or even only of that: firing some missiles and/or dropping some bombs upon Syria, blowing some shit up, in order to spook Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Obama promises that the U.S. would avoid getting any further involved in Syria’s civil war than that, but, of course, once you start firing missiles and/or dropping bombs, shit can spiral out of control. Quickly. You can’t promise what will and what won’t happen once you start throwing rocks at the hornets’ nest.

Of course, Repugnican Tea Party intransigence on Obama’s ordering a military attack on Syria might give Obama the political escape hatch from his “red-line” threat that he really could use right about now. Obama could claim that Make no mistake: He really meant what he said about that “red line” — but it was the Repugnican Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives that prevented him from delivering upon his vague threat!

I don’t see what Obama has to lose in being prevented from launching a military attack that the majority of Americans don’t want him to launch anyway.

In any event, I’m not sure which pisses me off more: that more congressional Democrats haven’t publicly opposed Obama’s hare-brained “plan” to shoot rubber bands at Syria because the majority of them are a bunch of fucking cowards and party hacks who refuse to publicly oppose anything that Obama puts forth or that the congressional Repugnican Tea Party traitors oppose Obama’s plan only because it’s Obama’s plan.

But, again, this might be the highest good that comes out of the pathetically paralyzed District of Columbia from January 2011, when the Repugnican Tea Party traitors regained their majority in the House, to January 2017, when we will have a new (hopefully not Repugnican Tea Party) president.

I’ll take it, even though it is only accidental.

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Syria’s civil war: Fools rush in

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with a German newspaper in Damascus

Reuters image

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the new Saddam Hussein: not a nice guy, by all accounts, but is he really worth dragging the United States into yet another war in the Middle East? Is the war hawks’ — chickenhawks’ — interest in American military action in Syria’s civil war actually about the welfare of the Syrian people, or would it be just another opportunity for the U.S. military to flex its muscles again on the world stage (against a much weaker opponent — of course)?

If the allegations that the government of Syria killed hundreds of Syrian civilians with nerve gas are true — I suspect that they are, that the disturbing-enough video footage that I’ve seen of the apparent civilian victims of nerve gas is not faked — I am not sure why this particular method of the slaughter of civilians is considered to be worse than, say, how hundreds of Egyptian protesters were slaughtered by the Egyptian military earlier this month, or how hundreds have been slaughtered by U.S. drone strikes, including the confirmed deaths of almost 100 children.

Hey, how about that “shock and awe” that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians? Talk about “liberating” those Iraqis! We took away all of their problems!

I mean, dead is dead; why, exactly, the use of chemical weapons is a “red line,” as U.S. President Barack Obama put it a year ago, but being shot to death by your nation’s military while you are protesting the military coup against the president whom you’d democratically elected, or being snuffed out by an American bomb or an American weaponized drone, is regarded as A-OK eludes me.

That Saddam Hussein reportedly gassed and killed thousands of Kurds in the 1988, and that the unelected, treasonous Bush regime used this, about 15 years after the fact, as one of its many changing “reasons” to invade Iraq in 2003 (actually, Saddam Hussein was, to Washington, D.C., a “good” dictator, or at least a tolerable one, until he nationalized Iraq’s oil fields, closing them off to Big Oil* — then he was a “bad” dictator) does not mean that every time that chemical weapons are used somewhere on the planet, the U.S. military must invade that nation — because chemical weapons!

I’m not a fan of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but I’m also not a fan of yet another U.S.-led war in the Middle East while the American empire continues to rot from within (one word: Detroit).

And I’m not alone. Reuters reported yesterday:

Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria’s government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days — just as Syria’s civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans’ resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East. …

I’m not a cold-hearted bastard. The slaughter of one child is the slaughter of too many children. But how many more Syrian civilians would be slaughtered if the United States were to involve itself in Syria’s civil war?

That the president of the United States pronounced the existence of some “red line” and that the U.S. might look “weak” on the world stage if this “red line” materialized but the U.S. did nothing in response — saving face — is not a reason to take your nation to war.

Those who feel differently, those who want to drag us into a war in Syria — well, maybe we can air-drop them into Syria so that they can help the rebels, since they care about the Syrians so much.

But my guess is that, as was the case with the Vietraq War, the majority of those who would drag us to war in Syria are chickenhawks: They’ll talk a mean game — as long as it’s someone else who’s doing the dying.

P.S. In case you think it’s a closed case that the Syrian government gassed Syrian civilians, know this (from AFP):

… Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said about 3,600 patients displaying “neurotoxic symptoms” had flooded into three Syrian hospitals on the day of the alleged [chemical-weapon] attacks, and 355 of them died.

“Medical staff working in these facilities provided detailed information to MSF doctors regarding large numbers of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress,” said MSF operations director Bart Janssens.

MSF president Mego Terzian told AFP that “scientific” proof is still lacking.

“Syrian doctors we work with have no scientific proof. They must take hair samples, for example, and send them to a specialist laboratory,” to carry out conclusive tests, he said. …

So, thus far there is no scientific proof that chemical weapons were used. That’s pretty fucking important, isn’t it?

And even if such scientific proof materializes, would it be impossible that members of the Syrian opposition actually staged the attack in order to draw the U.S. military to their aid? Unlikely, one hopes, but again — would it be impossible?

Syrian rebels, after all, have put the deaths at more than 1,000, but the doctors of MSF are saying 355. I tend to trust the word of the MSF doctors, who don’t have the same political agenda that the Syrian rebels do.

Hopefully the United Nations will be allowed to take the lead on the investigation into whether or not the Syrian government gassed civilians — and hopefully the United States, with its partner in crime, Britain, won’t do what it did in Iraq in 2003: bypass the wishes of the United Nations Security Council and invade a weaker sovereign nation anyway.

*CNN noted earlier this year on the 10-year anniversary of the Vietraq War:

Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil.

It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom’s bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.

Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.

From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West’s largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000.

The war is the one and only reason for this long sought and newly acquired access. [Emphasis all mine.]

Oil was not the only goal of the Iraq War, but it was certainly the central one, as top U.S. military and political figures have attested to in the years following the invasion.

“Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that,” said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Then-Sen. and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the same in 2007: “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.”

For the first time in about 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq from some of the world’s largest oil fields and reaping enormous profit. And while the U.S. has also maintained a fairly consistent level of Iraq oil imports since the invasion, the benefits are not finding their way through Iraq’s economy or society.

These outcomes were by design, the result of a decade of U.S. government and oil company pressure. In 1998, Kenneth Derr, then CEO of Chevron, said, “Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas-reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to.” Today it does.

In 2000, Big Oil, including Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell, spent more money to get fellow oilmen Bush and Cheney into office than they had spent on any previous election. Just over a week into Bush’s first term, their efforts paid off when the National Energy Policy Development Group, chaired by Cheney, was formed, bringing the administration and the oil companies together to plot our collective energy future. In March, the task force reviewed lists and maps outlining Iraq’s entire oil productive capacity.

Planning for a military invasion was soon under way. Bush’s first Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, said in 2004, “Already by February (2001), the talk was mostly about logistics. Not the why (to invade Iraq), but the how and how quickly.”

In its final report in May 2001 (PDF), the task force argued that Middle Eastern countries should be urged “to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment.” This is precisely what has been achieved in Iraq. …

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