You can already hear them coming. Expect to see on Facebook and the “anti-war” (sic) blogosphere in the coming days the following propaganda tactics:
1. “False flag.” Even the increasingly problematic Noam Chomsky
is parroting this malarky
. Every time there is a chemical attack in Syria, it is speculated, on no evidence, that the rebels did it as a provocation—even as the attacks come amid massive Assad-Putin bombardment of the same locales. Funny how the rebels have so much poisonous gas yet they only ever seem to use it against themselves. Has there been one single report of a gas attack on regime-held territory throughout the course of the war? This is contemptible denialist bullshit of the lowest order.
What’s particularly ironic is that the folks who spew this jive think they are such cognescenti, seeing through the lies of the dreaded “mainstream media.” In fact, it is mainstream outlets like Newsweek that are increasingly floating such theories, particularly in the recent writings of a self-promoting ex-spook named Ian Wilkie
Meanwhile, his transparent lies
are being called out by truly alternative media such as EA Worldview
, which closely and seriously
monitors the Syrian war, and independent investigative websites like Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat
2. “Not our problem.” This response is an exercise in imperial narcissism
which makes every question about “us.” There are obvious problems with any extension of US military power in Syria or anywhere else, which we presumably do not have to elaborate on here. But if you have greater outrage for whatever military action Trump takes in response to this attack than you do for the attack itself, there is something seriously wrong with you.
It was just a year ago, when “anti-war” types took to the streets of New York to protest Trump’s air-strikes in response to the chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun
, that I was quoted on Eyewitness News
calling out their hypocrisy. Even if you think we have no responsibility to protest any atrocity not directly carried out by the US or its client states such as Israel (itself a problematic position), note that in the weeks prior to Trump’s air-strikes in response to Khan Shaykhun, some 600 (overwhelmingly civilians) had been killed in the US bombardment of ISIS-held Raqqa and Mosul—eliciting no street protests whatsoever. But an Assad regime airbase gets bombed and a few warpanes destroyed, and then
they all take to the streets. Whatever else this may be, it is certainly not
a consistent “anti-war” position! Sadly, we are probably looking at a replay of such morally depraved “anti-war” (sic) protests in the coming days.
3. “But what about Gaza?” Amnesty International calls this tactic “”Whataboutery
“” and notes that Bashar Assad uses it himself when cornered by interviewers about his campaigns of mass murder. When you talk about Syria, you have to talk about Syria,
and not immediately change the subject. Those who use Gaza as a distraction from Ghouta are exploiting dead Palestinians.
Why is the response to the latest ghastly news from Gaza never “What about Ghouta?” (Except, of course, from reactionary Zionists
who we’re all supposed to hate.)
4. “The CIA stirred up trouble, so Assad isn’t to blame.” File this one under “blame the victim.” For starters, it is based on a lie. The Syrian revolution was sparked by an incident in which school-children were tortured
after painting anti-regime slogans on a wall in Deraa in March 2011. And now, seven years later, Assad is getting a pass for gassing
children. Even if the Syrian Revolution was entirely CIA astroturf (which is total ahistorical baloney), it would in no sense justify mass murder and chemical attacks.
5. “The rebels are all al-Qaeda.” Again, that is (first of all) not true (the make-up of the rebel factions at Ghouta is clear for those who care to look), and (more to the point) irrelevant even if it were true. Justifying war crimes and acts of genocide as necessary to counterinsurgency against a demonized enemy is the logic of Guernica and My Lai. Nice company you are in, “anti-war” (sic) fools.
It’s an indication of just how far through the looking glass we are that Seymour Hersh
, who broke the My Lai story in 1968, has now become an open supporter
of the genocidal Assad regime.
Once again, there is nothing worse than pro-war “anti-war” jive.