Careless Blindness

by Berry Friesen (October 22, 2015)

My previous post described the blindness of American Christians to the malevolent role of the US government in Syria as “willful.”

But might it be carelessness instead?

In late August 2013, hundreds of Syrian civilians died after an attack of sarin gas.  For days, many images of lifeless children filled our screens.

The deadly gas was delivered by a rocket fired into a suburb of Damascus.  Within hours of the atrocity, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US had convincing evidence that Syrian President Assad was responsible.  The New York Times and Washington Post agreed.  President Barack Obama repeated this conclusion in a nationally televised speech on September 10, 2013. The White House even identified a place near President Assad’s office as the likely launching point for the rocket.

Those searing images of dead children—joined with the authority and credibility of US leaders—left an indelible impression in our minds:  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the butcher of Damascus.  He used chemical weapons to murder innocent children.

That’s what most American Christians still think today.  That’s where the carelessness comes in.

In December 2013, the London Review of Books published Seymour Hersh’ report that the sarin attack appeared to be a provocation staged by opponents of President Assad and designed to dramatically escalate the involvement of the US military in the dismantling of Syria.

Hersh is an award-winning journalist.  He has a long record of breaking major stories, including the My Lai massacre from the Vietnam War and the Abu Ghraib torture practices of the US in Iraq.  His reporting on the sarin attacks deserved to be taken seriously.  But no US media would publish it, so few Americans became aware of it.

Only a month later, two aeronautical scientists (Dr. Theodore Postol from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dr. Richard Lloyd from Tesla Laboratories) published their analysis of the rocket that delivered the deadly sarin gas.  These are top-drawer experts; Lloyd is a former United Nations weapons inspector with two books, 75 academic papers and 40 patents to his credit.

They concluded that the rocket could have traveled only about two kilometers.  “It’s clear and unambiguous this munition could not have come from Syrian government-controlled areas as the White House has claimed,” said Dr. Postol in an interview with MintPress News.

This finding corroborated what Hersh had reported:  the deadly sarin attack had been carried out by the opponents of President Assad, not by agents of the Syrian government.

Never heard of MintPress news?  It’s an alternative news site in Minnesota that refuses to follow the official line of the empire.  It published Postol’s and Lloyd’s important findings (as did other alternative news outlets), the mainstream media did not.

But it’s not too late. Today, start reading the alternative media.  What we hear on National Public Radio and FOX News, what we read in mainstream newspapers, do not provide an accurate account of the US role in the world.  If you continue to rely on them, you are participating in the deceit of the empire.

For a little while, you could call that carelessness.  But then it becomes willful blindness.

Oct. 23 update:  Whistle-blowers within Turkey's government have gone public this week with reports that Turkey's intelligence service planned and executed the sarin attack, hoping it would bring the US military into a more decisive role in bringing down the government of Syria. This important development is not being reported widely in the USA, but is being reported by alternative media.