Friday, September 20, 2013

War on Syria will not help the Syrian people

"My bottom line is that I believe that to blow a bunch of stuff up over a couple days, to underscore or validate a point or a principle, is not a strategy."  That's former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaking on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas Tuesday as reported by Thom Shanker and Lauren D'Avolio (New York Times).  He compared a 'precision' strike on Syria to "throwing gasoline on a very complex fire in the Middle East."

With him was Leon Panetta who also served as Secretary of Defense (and as head of the CIA) during Barack's first term.  I know Leon (and I like him) and his public comments will always be supportive of the Democratic Party leadership.  So if Leon wants to embarrass himself publicly, that's his right.  However, we are no obligation to help him embarrass himself.

Back to Gates.  He called out Barack's 'strategy' of 'red line crossed means I bomb' stating, "My bottom line is that I believe that to blow a bunch of stuff up over a couple days, to underscore or validate a point or a principle, is not a strategy."

And al Qaeda is not a trust worthy ally despite what Barack apparently thinks.  Nor is the Free Syrian Army (the 'nice' 'rebels') trust worthy.  As Domenico Quirico and Pierre Piccinin discovered last April.  Quirico is an Italian journalist, Piccinin a Belgian historian, writer and teacher.  From April until this month, the two were hostages in Syria.  Pierre Piccinin da Prata spoke to the BBC today about the ordeal (link is audio).  Excerpt.

Pierre Piccinin da Prata:  And the Free Syrian Army assured to us good security but we were catched by an Islamist brigade named Qatibat [Al Kurdi] Abou Amar.  We were sold by the Free Syrian Army to this group.

BBC:  Explain to me what you mean when you say you were sold by the Free Syrian Army.

Pierre Piccinin da Prata:  We were under the protection of the Free Syrian Army in Syria.  When I travel in Syria, it was my eighth trip to Syria since the beginning of my relationship with the Free Syrian Army to have good protection.  But this time, it was different.  The group who protected us decided to give us to this Islamist group.

Alex Lantier (WSWS) reported on the release of the two hostages:

Domenico Quirico, a journalist for Italy’s La Stampa newspaper who was held 152 days by US-backed Syrian opposition forces, recounted his captivity in an editorial this weekend in La Stampa and in the British Guardian. Though he initially supported opposition forces, Quirico now confirms widespread reports of the criminal character of the opposition.
[. . .]
They complained of receiving poor food and repeated beatings, and Quirico was twice subjected to mock executions.
All of this was done, as Quirico points out, by groups enjoying the backing of Washington and its European allies. He writes, “Abu Omar gave an Islamic gloss to the criminal activities of his band and had links with Al Farouq, the group that then took control of us. Al Farouq is a well-known brigade of the Syrian revolution, part of the Syrian National Council, and its representatives have held meetings with European governments.”
Above all, Quirico paints a devastating portrait of the criminal activities of the different Islamist militias in whose custody he and Piccinin were kept. He writes, “The West trusts them, but I learned to my cost that we are talking about a new and disturbing phenomenon in the revolt: the emergence of a group of Somali-style bandits who use an Islamic veneer and the context of the revolution to control pieces of territory, extort money from the population, kidnap people, and generally fill their boots.”

Piccinin was openly and loudly enthralled with the 'rebels' until his 2013 ordeal.  You can visit his site and read any number of pieces applauding the rebels (start with this valentine).  Today, he tells the BBC people are coming into Syria not for revolution but for jihad.  And this is what Barack will support and encourage and facilitate with a series of US strikes.

Instead of serious coverage about what's taking place, we get fluff like this from The Economist, "America’s credibility as an ally has been undermined. Whereas Mr Putin has stood firmly by Mr Assad, even while 100,000 people have perished, the West has proved an inconstant friend to the opposition."    The logic flew out the window so let's note reality, the US government has never been troubled over attacking anyone.  It remains, to this day, the only nation to use the atomic bomb on another country.  No credibility has been lost or undermined in the last weeks.  War on Syria hasn't even been put away.  It's still on the table (which is why those of us opposed to it need to be focusing on stopping it now and not waiting for the address that informs the US has just begun bombing Syria).  This crap of reporting on life or death as a game of brinkmanship not only sells and fuels war, it also dehumanizes us all.  The dick measuring contest needs to stop.

You and me, we're like America and Russia
We're always keeping score
We're always balancing the power
And that can get to be a cold cold war
We're going to have to hold ourselves a peace talk
In some neutral café
You lay down your sneaking round the town honey
And I'll lay down the highway

-- "Blue Motel Room," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on Hejira

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