Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Hate The War

Damascus has decided to cut off its diplomatic relations with Iraq in response to a deadly raid carried out by the U.S. on Syrian soil earlier this week, Al-Arabiya reported on Thursday.
Syria has also decided to reduce its troops on the border with Iraq, according to a report from Syrian television.
The Syrian government has demanded Washington apologize for the strike of the Abu Kamal border community and earlier this weeek threatened to cut off cooperation on Iraqi border security if there are more American raids on Syria territory.

The above is from Yoav Stern's "Report: Syria cuts diplomatic ties with Iraq over U.S. raid" (Haaretz). Sunday's attack on Syria is not going away. Atul Aneja's "U.S. raid in Syria snowballs into crisis" (The Hindu) notes:

The news of the attack has strongly echoed in neighbouring Iraq, whose territory was used to mount the raid by U.S. commandos, who used military helicopters for the strike.
Analysts say the raid has reinforced the argument within the Iraqi political circles, who have been insisting that an agreement for extending the stay of American forces in Iraq beyond 2008 should be considered only if Washington accepted the condition that it would not use Iraqi soil to mount military strikes against neighbouring countries.

The attack Sunday is illuminating in many ways. First, notice how many are ignoring it. Also throw in the excusers like James Denselow who writes an entire column (for the Guardian of London) that never calls out the US action.

Once upon the idea of pre-emptive actions were called out. But after eight years, apparently, no one's at all bothered the Syria's sovereignty was violated. Forget that civilians were allegedly killed in the attack, forget that anyone was.

It's very disturbing that after seven years of the Bully Boy, the attack on Syria seems normal.

It's equally disturbing that it seems so 'normal' that no one's insisting that our government provide us with answers. The State Dept, the White House and the Defense Dept have all refused to speak about the attack.

Wasn't this supposed to be a democracy?

So where are the people calling this out? Is the entire faux left too damn busy trying to elect Barack Obama? The US attacked Syria and that's not a concern?

Syria's lodged an objection with the United Nations. Iraq has stated they had nothing to do with the attack and that they are investigating (and will share their findings with Syria). Protests took place today and the US Embassy in Syria was closed. From Ellen Knickmeyer's "Syria Protests U.S. Raid To U.N., Orders Closures" (Washington Post):

Syria protested a deadly U.S. raid into its territory to the United Nations on Tuesday, saying those killed were "innocent civilians," and announced it was closing an American school and cultural center in its capital.
[. . .]
In a letter Tuesday to leaders of the United Nations and U.N. Security Council, Syria said the eight people killed in the raid were civilians, including a woman and one man killed with his four sons, Syria's state-run news agency said. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem had said Monday that seven civilians died in the raid.

That's supposed to be ignored. We're all supposed to pretend it didn't happen? Americans are supposed to accept that their government -- the government that's supposed to work for and be answerable to them -- has yet to provide a statement on the attack?

We have no answers on the attack and North Korea has joined many in condemning the attack. Cyprus has condemned the attack: "Cyprus also extended its deepest condolences to the families of the eight innocent victims of the U.S. raid on Sunday, which U.S. officials said was aimed at a top operative of al-Qaida in Iraq."

There are legal issues here and ethical ones. There are issues about democracy as well as sovereignty and one of the few who seem to grasp the criminal action took place is Mohammad Akef Jamal. From his "Syria strike hard to justify" (Gulf News):

Breaking into the borders of a country to crack down on foreign fighters cannot be done this way, and the US should know better.
In the early 1980s, Iraq signed a security pact with Turkey allowing Turkey to hunt members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) up to a certain depth inside Iraq and giving Iraq the same rights.
Breaking into the borders of any country without a similar agreement is considered a hostile act and a violation of this country's sovereignty, besides being a breach of international laws. This attack raised many questions about its targets and content. First, the US never carried such attacks when the Syrian-Iraqi borders were almost open and Syria was accused of allowing hundreds of militants to infiltrate into Iraq to carry out vandalism operations.
However, the situation has changed lately as these accusations decreased and Syria was no longer the country that allows militants into Iraq. Syria has also taken steps to mend its relations with Lebanon and France, which should bring it closer to the US, not the opposite.
The attack was not accidental and it was a result of a decision taken by a minor officer, because marching into another country is an act of war, and there is no doubt that it was taken by the commander of the US forces in Iraq, if not the commander of the central forces himself.

Where are the American voices making the same points? Where is the outrage over what went down as well as the outrage over an administration that believes they don't have to explain their actions or answer for them?

Read Rob Corbidge's piece for the Scotsman and grasp what that really says:

For some, the raid has been perceived as a final hurrah of the Bush administration, a last punch thrown at a regional enemy to remind them Uncle Sam can hurt at will, and evidence of malign intent still lurking in the White House.
Move the date of the Syrian raid forward, however, to 21 January, 2009 -- the day after the near-certain inauguration of President Barack Obama -- and such an operation would merely become a tactical military decision, a risky one admittedly, but without the political baggage of Bush, Cheney et al. And make no mistake, Obama would certify such a mission if the military told him it was essential. Perception is all in politics.

Colbridge offers that it can be a "final hurrah" for Bully Boy but it will happen under the next president as well (he believes that person will be Barack). People need to be paying attention to what's going on. Norman Solomon needs to quit wasting everyone's time with his 'election thoughts.' A media critic does not become a pledged delegate for any candidate. When s/he does, the person is no longer a media critic. Solomon's going to have to do a great deal work just to attempt to salvage his reputation. His idiotic orders to the American people on how they should vote are worthless and no one needs to hear from Norman on that. Talk about an inflated sense of self. But if Norman wants to be of some use, if he's done prostituting himself for an election cycle, he could try to find the guts to address what took place on Sunday and what it means for the future of the United States. Ignoring it means that, as Corbidge suggests, these attacks, these criminal actions, will be seen as normal under the next president.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4186. Tonight? 4189. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,273,378 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war . . . same number they listed last week, and the week before that, and the Thursday before and, yes, the Thursday before that.

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