Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dirty, Bloody US Hands Off Syria!

A piece has just appeared (9/4/17) on The Conversation website, provocatively titled Why can't America just take Assad out? The author, David Alpher is described as Adjunct Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution, George Mason University.

In a nutshell, Alpher's thesis is that America can't just take Asad out because "Targeting Assad would likely give birth to the same kind of catastrophe we saw in Libya after Muammar Gaddafi's fall."

While totally agreeing with Alpher's statement of the bleeding obvious in relation to Syria, I think it's time to pose a more fundamental question: What right has America to pursue regime change anywhere

The answer, of course, is none. The words of a prominent American critic of  his country's Vietnam War involvement, General David W. Shoup (1904-1983) are worth recalling here:

"I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. That they design and want. That they fight and work for. And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the 'haves' refused to share with the 'have-nots' by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans." (1966)

Shoup's words are as relevant today as they were in the 60s.


Grappler said...

On Libya, here is a British Parliamentary report:

Chairman's remarks:

"This report determines that UK policy in Libya before and since the intervention of March 2011 was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the country and the situation.

Other political options were available. Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at a lesser cost to the UK and Libya. The UK would have lost nothing by trying these instead of focusing exclusively on regime change by military means.

Having led the intervention with France, we had a responsibility to support Libyan economic and political reconstruction. But our lack of understanding of the institutional capacity of the country stymied Libya’s progress in establishing security on the ground and absorbing financial and other resources from the international community.

The UK’s actions in Libya were part of an ill-conceived intervention, the results of which are still playing out today. The United Nations has brokered an inclusive Government of National Accord. If it fails, the danger is that Libya will sink into a full scale civil war to control territory and oil resources. The GNA is the only game in town and the international community has a responsibility to unite behind it."

Even those comments are a little disingenuous. It would be fairer to describe it as a monumental cock-up based on totally false assumptions inculcated by the Western media. The report goes on to document how descriptions in the media of Ghaddafi's forces attacking civilians were incorrect:

"We were told that émigrés opposed to Muammar Gaddafi exploited unrest in Libya by overstating the threat to civilians and encouraging Western powers to intervene. In the course of his 40-year dictatorship Muammar Gaddafi had acquired many enemies in the Middle East and North Africa, who were similarly prepared to exaggerate the threat to civilians."

"An Amnesty International investigation in June 2011 could not corroborate allegations of mass human rights violations by Gaddafi regime troops. However, it uncovered evidence that rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence. The investigation concluded that

'much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge.'"

Now where have I heard those kinds of portrayals more recently? And note even for Amnesty it was a "regime" - the report cannot bring itself to say "government".

Grappler said...

I meant to add, after "cock-up", "with disastrous consequences for the people of Libya."

MERC said...

That mysterious Iraqi defector known as Curveball really started something back in 1999, didn't he?

Grappler said...

Go back further - the mass graves in Kosovo and before that to the babies being thrown out of incubators in Kuwait.

How many times do we have to be told lies by the corporate media before we stop believing them. Even GWB only needed to be told lies once!