by Berry Friesen (June 24, 2016)
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—the place where I live—is a Republican stronghold. This was never more self-evident than on June 1, 2011 when the local Chamber of Commerce rolled out the red carpet to George W. Bush as the speaker for its annual dinner.
A few of us locals picketed the event; we thought Bush should be in prison, not feted by our community’s leaders. Bush committed war crimes as President, most notably his aggression against Iraq. A million Iraqis died as a result, millions more were injured, yet millions more displaced.
Yet my community’s finest turned out that evening to celebrate Bush and perhaps touch the hem of his garment. It was an outrageous display of the behavior the prophet Ezekiel described as “whoring:” kissing up to powerful men in the hopes of receiving some benefit in return.
Why am I talking about Bush and events in 2011?
Because for anyone paying the least bit of attention, the US invasion of Iraq revealed more clearly than ever before the US government’s malevolent agenda. The invasion was a seminal event, one that should have caused the scales to drop from our eyes.
Yet a very similar course of events has been going on these past five years involving the administration of President Barack Obama and the Democrats. Just as George W. Bush destroyed Iraq without any provocation, so Barack Obama is destroying Syria. And just as Republicans ignored Bush’s criminality, so Democrats are ignoring Obama’s criminality.
Yes, Obama differed from Bush by not asking the US military to do the dirty work. Instead, Obama arranged for Salafist mercenaries to do the liver-eating, head-chopping and pillaging. Do we imagine this is a moral distinction to be celebrated?
Recently, mainstream US news shows have been filled with the propaganda that precedes each new round of US aggression against the people of Syria. We have seen images of dead children, destroyed hospitals, ruined cities. Much of it has been phony (see here and here and here).
The media also has reported Russian jets are attacking “moderate” forces trained and equipped by the US.
As Ulson Gunnar put it, no one ever bothers to explain “why the US believes it is entitled to send armed militants over the borders and into a sovereign nation, or why it believes a sovereign nation and its allies are not entitled to confront and neutralize them or why US aircraft are entitled to fly over Syrian airspace without the authorization of the Syrian government.”
You see, we’re an empire now (as Karl Rove once put it) and no other explanation is needed.
The Obama Administration does not want peace in Syria. It does not want Russia to bomb al-Qaeda’s mercenaries or the mercenaries of any other Salafist group attacking Syria and its government. It does not want Da’esh (ISIS) to lose control of eastern Syria.
The US supports permanent war in Syria so Syria never again will speak with an independent voice on behalf of its people and so the noose can be tightened yet again around Iran.
Yes, that’s an evil policy, no question about it.
What’s up for debate is where we stand. Have we raised our voices against US policy in Syria? Have we written even one letter to the editor of our local newspaper on the subject? Or are we still wasting our time in the empire’s Republican vs. Democrat sideshow?