The good guys are finally winning in Aleppo
, where the jihadis have been running the show. Unsurprisingly, the BBC
wants to convince its audience that the wrong side is prevailing.
Nato has accused Russia of "undermining" Syrian peace efforts through its strikes, which it says are mainly aimed at opposition groups. Russia insists it only targets what it calls terrorists.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Russia of being engaged in an "invasion" of Syria, saying it was trying to create a "boutique state" for ally President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr Erdogan said Russia and the Syrian government were together responsible for 400,000 deaths in Syria.
What propagandistic bunk!
The people running the BBC can, of course, argue that they have told no lies -- technically
. They have simply quoted the leader of Turkey. Well, I say that journalists become complicit in a falsehood if they routinely cite a man like Erdogan without offering any context.
The BBC could have exposed Erdogan's whopper by mentioning these two facts:
Neither Bashar Assad nor Vladimir Putin caused 400,000 deaths in Syria. That gruesome number is entirely the responsibility of ISIS, Nusra (Al Qaeda), and other jihadist groups.
Fact 2: The Erdogan family reaps immense profits from the sale of ISIS-brand oil
, stolen from the Syrian people. Does anyone expect honesty from the business partner of ISIS?
Not long ago, a writer named Ira Chernus wrote a piece which appeared in various progressive journals. Flawed as his analysis is, it deserves to be read in conjunction with the BBC's exercise in neocon agit-prop.
that the problem we face is one of competing narratives. He's right -- but also, in part, wrong:
It was half a century ago, but I still remember it vividly. “We have to help South Vietnam,” I explained. “It’s a sovereign nation being invaded by another nation, North Vietnam.”
“No, no,” my friend protested. “There’s just one Vietnam, from north to south, divided artificially. It’s a civil war. And we have no business getting involved. We’re just making things worse for everyone.”
At the time, I hadn’t heard anyone describe the Vietnam War that way. Looking back, I see it as my first lesson in a basic truth of political life—that politics is always a contest between competing narratives. Accept a different story and you’re going to see the issue differently, which might leave you open to supporting a very different policy.
So far, so good. But then Chernus veers off course...
Right now, as Americans keep a wary eye on the Islamic State (IS), there are only two competing stories out there about the devolving situation in the Middle East: think of them as the mission-creep and the make-the-desert-glow stories. The Obama administration suggests that we have to “defend” America by gradually ratcheting up our efforts, from air strikes to advisers to special operations raids against the Islamic State. Administration critics, especially the Republican candidates for president, urge us to “defend” ourselves by bombing IS to smithereens, sending in sizeable contingents of American troops, and rapidly upping the military ante. Despite the fact that the Obama administration and Congress continue to dance around the word “war,” both versions are obviously war stories. There’s no genuine peace story in sight.
Chernus argues that peace activists should frame this conflict as a civil war in which America can play no useful role.
The Muslim civil war story leads directly to a radical change in policy: stop trying to impose a made-in-America order on dar al-Islam. Give up the dubious gratification of yet another war against “the evildoers.” Instead, offer genuinely humanitarian aid, with no hidden political agenda, to the victims of the civil war, especially those fleeing a stunning level of violence in Syria that the U.S. has helped to sustain. But cease all military action, all economic pressures, and all diplomatic maneuvering against any one side in the Muslim civil war. Become, as we have in other civil wars, a genuine neutral.
The problem with Chernus' argument comes down to this: His "civil war in progress" framework has the same adversarial relationship with reality that we've come to expect from the BBC or the NYT.
What's happening in Syria is not a civil war
. Syria and Iraq were invaded by a foreign army.
As we've seen in many (many
) previous posts, the Syrian "rebels" are actually a coalition of proxy forces created by the United States, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. This proxy army has the blessing and encouragement of the Israelis, who demand the removal of Bashar Assad.
The neocon Establishment -- both Republican and Democrat -- hopes to make war on Assad under the pretext of battling ISIS. The outrages perpetrated by ISIS are a gimmick designed to justify our involvement. The neocons have no real intention of getting rid of the jihadists -- in fact, the plan is to bring the jihadists to power.
Of course, our leaders will tell the public that we are helping "the moderates" -- another false narrative. There are
no anti-Assad moderates.
Most of the jihadists in Syria were not born there: They flew there. Most of them should have been (and probably once were
) placed on "no fly" lists. That fact alone tells you everything you need to know about the complicity of the United States and its allies in this unprovoked attack on peaceful Syria. ISIS is our monster baby. These European and North African maniacs, brainwashed by Islamist propaganda, decided that God gave them the right to govern the Levant -- and that the Shi'ites, Alawites and secular Sunnis who have lived there for centuries deserve no rights whatsoever.
the "competing narrative" you're looking for, Ira.
This narrative probably will not please Ira Chernus because it offers little to peaceniks. But my "proxy army" construct has the virtue of being demonstrably true, while the "civil war" storyline is fictional.
Older progressives may prefer the fictional version of history because they came of age during the Vietnam conflict, and Vietnam really did
experience a civil war. But Syria is different.
Once one has understood that neocons in "The West" and their Sunni allies subjected Syria to a foreign invasion -- not
a civil war -- then one can see the immorality of neutrality.
I do not call for peace. I call for war. Perhaps not a war in which our troops personally participate, but a war in which we choose better allies.
I call for a war in which we ally ourselves with the heroic peoples of Russia, Syria and Iran.
I call for a war to rectify the great wrong we did to the government of Bashar Assad, who (unlike our "friends" in Saudi Arabia and Qatar) won a democratic election which was certified by impartial international observers. Even though most of Assad's natural supporters (Christians, Alawites and other religious minorities) have fled for their lives, Assad is still more popular in his country than Obama, Trump, Rubio and Hillary are in this country
Once ISIS, Nusra and the other jihadis have been destroyed, morality demands that we pay reparations to Syria. Morality also demands that we officially apologize to the Syrians for the great injustice we did to them.
We should contemplate ridding the world of the consummately evil family now running Saudi Arabia. They funded ISIS and Al Qaeda, and their hideous attack on Yemen is a greater obscenity than was Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. What more casus belli
do we need? Of course, it should be understand that the effort to free Arabia may require the direct participation of American troops.
We should also contemplate military action against Qatar, which is run by Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
-- one of the most obnoxious dictators
the world has ever seen.
We should contemplate military action against the Erdogan regime in Turkey. (Always recall that the Erdogan crime family came to power via election fraud
We should help the heroic Russians dismantle the vile neo-Nazi regime we installed in Ukraine.
For neither the first nor the last time, I call for the military conquest of Israel, in order to save the lives of millions of Palestinians. An international tribunal, following the Nuremberg model, should determine the fate of the oppressors.
Leftists like Ira Chernus mean well, but they are misleading. They insist on framing the Syrian problem purely in terms of peace and war
. I say that we should frame the issue in terms of choosing the correct side.
We have brought the world closer to a third World War because we have allied ourselves with the bad guys: Fascists, jihadists, extremists, dictators.
Neutrality? Too late for that.
Peace? Yes, but only after we have put right the wrongs we have committed.
Today -- as in 1941 -- it is necessary to fight. If we cannot intervene directly, then we should aid those who battle for secularism, anti-fascism, religious tolerance and democracy. First and foremost, we must choose the right allies.
for a competing narrative?