Obama Goes Full Bush on Syria
by Rob Urie
In an interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone Argentina’s former President Nestor Kirchner recalled a conversation he had with U.S. President George W. Bush in which Mr. Bush expressed his view that war is ‘good for the economy.’ Given the context, a high level discussion over the efficacy of government programs to boost ‘the economy,’ Mr. Bush was apparently voicing a crude variant of ‘military Keynesianism,’ the theory that government military spending during WWII brought the U.S. out of the Great Depression. With WWII being one of the greatest slaughters in human history, the difference between the unintended auxiliary ‘benefit’ of the U.S. having the only industrial economy still standing as ‘the West’ was in need of rebuilding and Mr. Bush starting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq under the lunatic theory war has constructive benefits seems not to have occurred to him. Put differently, as long as ‘the economy’ for which war is considered good is Mr. Bush’s, the costs in terms of death, destruction and misery are apparently debits destined for someone else’s social accounting.
A quick glance at a map of the world shows Syria, the object of current President Barack Obama’s blood lust, just west of Iraq and just north and East of Israel, with Iran to the east of Iraq and Afghanistan to the east of Iran. Mr. Bush’s war on, and occupation of, Iraq sent approximately one million Iraqi refugees fleeing into Syria and opened a Sunni-Shia divide that is a primary factor in current Syrian tensions. U.S. ‘cold’ hostilities with Iran date to the waning days of the (Jimmy) Carter administration when the Iranian people rebelled against the puppet regime the U.S. had installed to ‘secure’ Iranian oil for the company that became British Petroleum (BP). Oil geopolitics explain some fair portion of the U.S.-Israeli ‘alliance,’ the overthrow of the legitimate government of Iran by the U.S., the repeated wars the U.S. has launched against Iraq and the geographical importance of Afghanistan to U.S. control of the region. In fact, the continuing presence of the U.S. in the Middle East over the last century has been the central cause of political instability in the region. And bogus rationales were given to suggest that slaughter and destruction were in some way for the benefit of those killed in every military conquest the U.S. has carried out in the last century.
Now we have current U.S. President Barack Obama, himself the leaker of classified ‘intelligence’ that has him personally ordering the extra-legal (illegal) murders of hundreds of women and children through his drone program, the political leader who refused to allow the prosecution of senior Bush administration officials for war crimes related to the war against, and occupation of, Iraq and Commander-in-Chief of a military that is one of the shadow protagonists in the ongoing conflict in Syria, claiming that the U.S. has the legal and moral authority to launch ‘official’ war against the Assad regime in Syria. However, under existing international law Mr. Obama lacks the legal authority to do so, given his own culpability for knowingly murdering hundreds of innocents he lacks the moral authority to do so, and as political leader of one of the shadow protagonists he already bears legal culpability for illegal acts being carried out by the U.S. military and intelligence services in Syria. And to paraphrase the charge made against the U.S. when baby Bush was selling his war on Iraq: how do we know Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons?—because Mr. Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, still has the receipts. Press reports have it that U.S. ally Great Britain was in fact selling the ‘precursor’ chemicals for Sarin gas to at least one side in the Syrian conflict until the EU (European Union) forced them to stop a few months ago.
Mr. Obama’s ‘official’ rationale for launching war on Syria—that chemical weapons represent a special class and their use requires a U.S. response, might be slightly less ludicrous if the U.S. hadn’t so recently launched an illegal war of aggression on Iraq in which over one million people were killed, the country was substantially destroyed and banned white phosphorous, depleted uranium shell casings, cluster bombs and illegal torture were liberally used against the civilian population. Across the Middle East today U.S. military drones are being used to terrorize and murder civilians and the murders are being covered up with the knowingly inaccurate classification of civilians as ‘terrorists.’ The CIA continues to run illegal ‘black sight’ torture facilities across the Middle East (and the world) where people accused of no crime are routinely tortured, raped and murdered against the Geneva Conventions and international law. And in fact the very same Syrian government now being accused of illegal acts was delivered hundreds, if not thousands, of people by the U.S. to be illegally tortured and murdered through the CIA’s and U.S. military’s ongoing ‘extraordinary rendition’ program. Mr. Obama’s cynicism in selling his war as ‘humanitarian’ intervention is nearly heroic in its contempt for U.S. history in the region, for the people who elected him and for his intended victims.
Public relations surrounding wars of imperial plunder have in recent centuries and decades tidied them up with alleged moral authority replacing naked self-interest as their stated intent. However, oil geopolitics alone tie together the last century of U.S. military actions in the Middle East. Much as with the development of ‘AFRICOM,’ the U.S. military adjunct to Western capitalist expansion in Africa, Mr. Obama’s external goal in Syria is to offset competing imperial claims on Middle Eastern oil. In so doing he is following U.S. geopolitical ‘tradition’ by using military force to maintain a ‘balance of power’ with chaos, death, terror and destruction the tools used to gain and maintain control of resources for the benefit of ‘Western’ multi-national corporations. The official U.S. line has been and remains that oil is a strategic resource, but it is strategic by design. Western corporations have engineered modern economies to be dependent on oil. To use this engineered dependence as the ongoing rationale for military conflict demonstrates Western capitalism to be incapable of the introspection needed for basic self-preservation in the face of changing circumstance–history has most decidedly not yet ended.
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