Saturday, August 31, 2013

@BarackObama, @StateDept Vow To Bomb #Syria, Citizens Object

Both Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama went on television yesterday to shill for bombing Syria. The quote above is some earlier hot air from Kerry, juxtaposed with the image of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, who testified that those same concerns motivated her leak of evidence of U.S. war crimes and diplomatic malfeasance. For which she has now been sentenced to 35 years in prison, while the actual war criminals roam free.

Barack Obama's speeches used to sound so much better before the 1% hired them written for him.  Saying that he'll bypass Congress and the UN but only order a "limited narrow act" sounds as awkward as "winning the future" and about as likely to happen. Alarmists warn that Syria's support from Iran and Russia means any action taken against the regime in Syria -- even if one surgical (sic) air strike -- could have an adverse global ripple effect.
This graphic from Yahoo reminded me of Mark Twain's sardonic observation: "God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”  Hasn't helped much as we're at war constantly while the US vs.  th3m site reported a quiz only 57% of Pentagon employees who played it could locate Damascus on a map within 200 miles of its actual location.

Millions will take to the streets over Labor Day weekend to say: the suffering of the people of Syria, who have died by the tens of thousands and become refugees by the millions since their uprising against the tyrant Assad began, will not be helped by the U.S. bombing them. 

As a man who knew a thing or two about effecting regime change put it:
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” ― Mahatma Gandhi 
The futility of bombing to halt atrocities was noted by Marwan Bishara at Al Jazeera:
...in the case of Kosovo, despite 38,000 aerial sorties over 78 days of NATO bombardment, the real ethnic cleansing continued unabated and even intensified after the bombing.
Bishara joined many in observing that whether the gas attacks were mounted by the Assad regime or by rebels being supplied by the Saudis, overt military action by the U.S. would signal a sea change:
Regardless of whether Assad did indeed give Washington a motive, or if Obama is using the chemical attack as a pretext, the decision to intervene militarily is more than a punitive response. 
It signals an implicit admission of failure in Syria over the past two years, and a major departure from a policy of reluctant, limited and indirect interference - the poverty of intervention by proxy.
Seasoned Middle East journalist Robert Fisk speculated on the timing of Kerry and Obama's expressions of moral outrage:
...we should have been traumatised into action by this war in 2011. And 2012. But why now?  
I suspect I know the reason. I think that Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless army might just be winning against the rebels whom we secretly arm. With the assistance of the Lebanese Hezbollah – Iran’s ally in Lebanon – the Damascus regime broke the rebels in Qusayr and may be in the process of breaking them north of Homs. Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West.
U.S. taxpayers and other world citizens may be forgiven for feeling that there is something creepily familiar about the empty words of the POTUS and his chief diplomat resouding in the echo chamber of the corporate media. As an email from my Codepink associate Pat Taub yesterday put it:
The NPR coverage of Syria deja vu has been unbelievable.  They don't even offer a a 10 second alternative viewpoint.  You were right when you described NPR as doing little more than reading the White House press releases!
(For an analysis of NPR's methods of manufacturing consent, see this excellent piece by Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss "All Trivia Considered.")

Weiss and Annie Robbins also noted that the coalition of the willing is proving damned hard to manufacture this time, as the UK Parliament snubbed PM Cameron's attempts to have them follow Obama down the garden path. Left and right are coming together around just saying no to bombing or sending more weapons to Syria, and 192 reps in the House signed a letter to Obama reminding him that he is constitutionally obligated to consult Congress before bombing people.

It's a weak point since Congress rubber stamped attacking both Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11, and in light of the fact that the Executive branch continues drone bombing in Pakistan and Yemen at will.

Whether or not Congress represents the will of the people is another point. Both Maine's reps Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud signed the letter, but only around 25% of their colleagues joined them. Meanwhile NBC reported yesterday that a poll showed 79% of respondents in the U.S. thought the president needed to consult Congress before military intervention could occur -- no matter what the administration's independent investigation of the nerve gas attack showed, as in we-don't-need-no-stinkin'-UN-investigation-report. You can read the documents on CNN that Obama and Kerry say they are are basing their case on.

Here are some other facts considered salient by those who object:



If you care to follow that particular money trail, check out Raytheon's page at InfluenceExplorer.com.
But you can fool some of the people all of them time (or maybe just hire them to act fooled). From a Facebook comment to the above post about the Raytheon factor:

Nicholas Shannon I volunteered to go to Jordan to try to help with this conflict. I'm deploying as soon as they let me. To me its more than a service to my country, its the right thing to do. I want to help the families and all the children. I have two kids am i know how fortunate i am to live in this great country. I will do everything i can to help the innocent people of syria. I will not sit behind my keyboard and rant reasonless opinions that fall on deaf ears.

Finally, a group of retired intelligence officers including Dan Ellsberg, CODEPINK associate and former State Dept. official Ann Wright and FBI whistleblower Colleen Crowley published an open letter to General Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman calling on him to refuse illegal orders to bomb Syria. Dempsey had expressed in a letter to Sen. Carl Levin that a "decision to use force..is no less than an act of war." Word.

I urge you to contact the White House today to insist on funds for humanitarian relief only.

Join me to stand in solidarity with Syrians bravely struggling against a brutal dictatorship and atrocities that continue to claim thousands of innocent victims.

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