Monday, April 16, 2018

Again on Trump's war on Syria

Wow.  Tons of e-mails on “It's wrong to go to war on Syria -- but Trump did have a few good lines ” from Friday.  I stand by it.  Some of you are upset that I noted it was a speech that contained a few good lines.  You can certainly disagree with me.  I was watching it with my girlfriend and her mother.  None of us are Trump supporters.  But we did think the speech could have been worse and we were hopeful that some statements he made were limiting the scope of what might come next.
As I noted at the top, it’s wrong to bomb Syria.  That’s not in dispute.  But Donald didn’t have the cheeto dust on his face, he spoke better – vocally and delivery – than I have ever seen him do.  I don’t like him but I’m not going to lie about him.
Who do you think I am?  Katha Pollitt!!!  Remember when that list-serv went public, we learned that Katha thought Sarah Palin gave an amazing speech at the convention.  However, she decided to lie and attack her for that asme speech.  Don’t get it twisted, I’m not a dishonest liar like Katha Pollitt.   I speak my mind. 
I oppose war.  I haven’t seen a worthwhile war in my lifetime.  I don’t believe in war.  I don’t support war.  Wars are not about human rights and we need to stop pretending they are.  They’re about theft.  Good science fiction (we know I love my sy fy novels) makes that point and makes it very strongly.  In real life, we either have to be looking back at least a hundred years or we have to lie. 
Will Morow (WSWS) rightly calls out the ISO and JACOBIAN magazine among others:

These groups are pro-war because they belong to a privileged upper-middle class layer that stands to benefit materially from the imperialist pillaging of the Middle East. Their pro-war proclamations reflect the right-wing shift among sections of the wealthiest 10 percent of American and European society, whose stock portfolios have skyrocketed as a result of the financialization of the world economy and the global stock market boom.
Polls show massive opposition in the US, France, and the UK to the Syria strikes. This reflects the growing opposition of the working class to war, which takes place under conditions of a growth of the class struggle worldwide as evidenced most acutely in the three countries that launched Friday night’s strikes. The pseudo-left and the imperialist powers fear that the struggles of the working class will merge with broad antiwar sentiment among workers and youth. The building of a mass movement in the working class opposed to war and inequality will take place in a conscious struggle against those groups that call themselves “left” while helping the imperialist powers bomb and plunder the former colonial countries.
I think those two paragraphs say it all – it goes beyond the ISO and those groups.  There are a lot of craven people who will profit from war and their silence is bought and paid for.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, April 16, 2018.  Donald Trump leads the bombing of Syria, Iraqis protest while the US media attempts to divert and distract from the real issues.

In Iraq, protests.

In a bit of good news for Hayder al-Abadi, they weren't protesting government corruption.  They were instead protesting the US attacks on Syria that US President Donald Trump launched on Friday night.

A little after 9:00 pm EST, Donald appeared on US television to announce, "Today, the nations of Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality."

Righteous power?  Some would argue there was nothing righteous about it.  As Vijay Prashad pointed out on CLEARING THE FOG, if indeed there were chemical weapons at the spots bombed, what would be the point of bombing them?  Wouldn't that just put the chemicals into the air?

If you were waiting for the US corporate media to address that, you were waiting in vain.  As Ava and I explained  in "TV: Neither humanity nor honesty factor into corporate news," ABC, CBS and NBC all skipped the notion of questions on their so-called public affairs programs on Sunday.  ABC, in fact, was more interested in promoting their Sunday 'news' special -- George Stephanopoulos fawning over James Comey -- than in exploring Syria.

On RT's GOING UNDERGROUND, Afshin Rattansi could -- and did -- wonder, "Whether chemical weapons allegations have become the political weapon of choice to excuse western expansionism?"  But the US corporate media was silenced on this and any other issue of importance.  As Mark Crispin Miller pointed out on Friday's ON CONTACT WITH CHRIS HEDGES, "I would say that the things you hear us talk about the least -- because the press has blacked them out -- are what pose the greatest threat to us."

What couldn't be broadcast on US corporate media could be questioned elsewhere.  SPUTNIK points out:

French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, who previously served as secretary of state for European affairs, said on Monday that he saw no parallels between the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was opposed by Paris at the time, and the strikes carried out on Syria by France and its allies this weekend.
"This is a ridiculous comparison. This situation has nothing to do with the current situation. There was no aggression from Iraq back then…. There was no Iraqi aggression, no Iraqi threat: why would you attack a state that does not threaten you?" Le Maire said on the Europe 1 broadcaster.

The US corporate media may question Donald Trump, may tear him apart daily, but they will never question war.

Wait, as Ava and I point out, they do question it -- they question whether any attack was enough and they fret that any action might make the government of Iran stronger.  That's their way of questioning -- begging for more and more war.

If the corporate media is craven (and it is), the American 'independent' media isn't a whole lot better as evidenced by COMMON DREAMS.  They 'cover' the strikes by running commentary by Juan Cole (born John Cole), the infamous CIA contractor.  Here's John V. Walsh (ANTIWAR.COM):

Cole claims to be a man of the "Left" and he appears with painful frequency on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now as the reigning "expert" on the war on Libya.  This is deeply troubling – on at least two counts. First, can one be a member of the "Left" and also an advocate for the brutal intervention by the Great Western Powers in the affairs of a small, relatively poor country?  Apparently so, at least in Democracy Now’s version of the "Left."  Second, it appears that Cole’s essential function these days is to convince wavering progressives that the war on Libya is fine and dandy.  But how can such damaged goods as Cole credibly perform this marketing mission so vital to Obama’s war?
Miraculously, Cole got just the rehabilitation he needed to continue with this vital propaganda function when it was disclosed by the New York Times on June 15 that he was the object of a White House inquiry way back in 2005 in Bush times. The source and reason for this leak and the publication of it by the NYT at this time, so many years later, should be of great interest, but they are unknown.   Within a week of the Times piece Cole was accorded a hero’s welcome on Democracy Now, as he appeared with retired CIA agent Glenn Carle who had served 23 years in the clandestine services of the CIA in part as an "interrogator."  Carl had just retired from the CIA at the time of the White House request and was at the time employed at the National Intelligence Council, which authors the National Intelligence Estimate. 
It hit this listener like a ton of bricks when it was disclosed in Goodman’s interview that Cole was a long time "consultant" for the CIA, the National Intelligence Council and other agencies.

Yet COMMON DREAMS is publishing him still?  As the late Alexander Cockburn (COUNTERPUNCH) observed in 2011, "On Amy Goodman's Democracy Now one was far more likely to hear CIA-consultant Juan Cole issuing fervent support for the entire intervention than rather any vigorous interviewing of informed sources about what was actually happening on the ground in Libya."

It's offensive to a free exchange for Cole to be included due to his clandestine activities in the past (and currently).  It's also offensive for COMMON DREAMS to publish Cole's piece about Iraqis saying "We've seen this movie and it doesn't end well."

What movie?

And what Iraqi would say that?

War Hawk Cole would say it.  It's all a big joke to him.

But Iraqis did not take to the streets to protest the bombing of Syria because it reminded them of "a movie."

How patronizing and insulting can the corrupt Juan Cole be -- and don't let COMMON DREAMS off, they elected to post that crap.

For Iraqis who are still living with daily bombings on the ground and with the US-led coalition still dropping bombs on them from the air --  April 6th saw the coalition bombing Tuz, April 8th saw the bombing Rutbah, April 11th saw the bombing Qaim and April 12 saw the bombing of Qaim again (per the US Defense Dept) -- this is not "a movie."  It's insulting for Cole to claim that it is.

US bombed Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis over suspected weapons of mass destruction. US has now bombed Syria over suspected chemical weapons. How many Syrians would get killed?

The Iraqi people took to the streets because they've lived with destruction passed off as 'liberation' and they know where this lead.

Nehal Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports:

Hundreds of Iraqi citizens protested on Sunday in central Baghdad against the aistrikes carried out against Syria on Saturday, AlSumaria News reported.
The civilians, according to the report, staged a demonstration in al-Tahrir region in Baghdad against the airstrikes launched by U.S., backed by Britain and France, against Syria.
The protesters raised Iraqi and Syrian flag in solidarity with Syrian people. They also chanted against the U.S. and its allies.
Earlier today, security troops blocked the roads near from Tahrir region and imposed tight measures as the protest was staged.

Stop destroying Syria as you destroyed our country," shouted protesters in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, in reference to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. "No to America, no to the bombardment of Syria," they chanted.

NPR adds, "Demonstrators gathered in major cities across Iraq on Sunday to protest U.S.-led airstrikes against Syria in protests called for by Muqtada Sadr, the influential Shiite cleric who led the Mehdi Army that fought U.S. forces after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.  The demonstrations took place in Baghdad, Basra and Najaf."

US flags burned as Iraqis protest Syria strikes...even Iraq knows that the actions in Syria were not only unjust, but politically motivated. They themselves have experienced the power of US / UK salvation. via

May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.

Campaigning started over the weekend.

On the first official day of campaigning for Iraq’s national elections, a single election poster hangs next to a sign warning of unexploded devices in Mosul’s devastated Old City.

Some in Iraq are not eager to vote.

In , citizens have been showing their feelings about the upcoming by ripping up posters of election candidates. Iraqis no longer believe elections will change anything and have grown tired and distrustful of a corrupt, failed political system

Along with those who will choose not to vote, there are those who will not be allowed to vote.  Amnesty International's Donatella Rovera Tweets:

's are in less than a month but 2.5 millions Iraqis remain displaced by war, mostly Sunnis & Yazidis. Not clear how many of them will be able to vote. If they can't vote, it will have long-term implication - Not good

In 2009, Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi stood up for the displaced and demanded they be represented.  In 2018, with al-Hashemi not in the country, no one seems willing to step forward and stand up for the displaced.

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