More bogus ‘anti-war’ responses to Ghouta chemical attack

With thanks again to Bill Weinberg, of Countervortex.


6. “Do you want a nuclear war?” This is some high irony. The “anti-war” (sic) left has basically been saying for five years that the Syrians should submit to genocide as the price of world peace. It’s really been working out great, hasn’t it? All the “anti-war” fools who abetted Assad’s genocide over the past five years by denying it or making excuses for it are utterly complicit in having brought the world to the brink. They helped make use of WMD acceptable. They helped place us on the slippery slope to Armageddon that they now sanctimoniously warn against.

7. “I’ll bet you believed there were WMD in Iraq too.” Talk about fighting the last war! To say this days after a deadly chemical attack (once again) betrays an unthinking analogy to Iraq, overlooking obvious, overwhelming context. This is akin to denying that Saddam had WMD after the Halabja chemical attack in 1988—not in 2003, when he had long since been disarmed and Dubya was looking for an excuse to go to war. Assad has had a blank check to carry out acts of genocide for years now. That analogy is bogus to the core.

Alas, we’re even hearing this crap on the deplorable Amy Goodman‘s ironically named Democracy Now, in which co-host Juan Gonzalez joins with the left’s perennial Mideast expert Phyllis Bennis to spin this as Iraq redux, recalling “the horrific stories about the invasion force of Saddam Hussein in Kuwait marching into a hospital and killing babies.” This is of course a reference to “Nurse Nayirah,” whose bogus testimony about non-existent Iraqi war crimes in Kuwait helped lubricate Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Except that Nayirah testified before Congress months after the Kuwait invasion, and was groomed by the Kuwaiti regime’s public relations firm Hill & Knowlton. So what does this have to do with fresh reports from aid workers from several organizations on the ground in Douma (Syrian-American Medical SocietyWhite HelmetsSyria Civil Defence), with harrowing video evidence, and not even enough time for any PR grooming? Oh that’s right, nothing.

Bennis skirted the edges of denialism after the 2013 Ghouta chemical attack. She seems to be getting worse. (Note, by the way, that Nurse Nayirah was invoked by some paranoid bloggers to plug the notion that the shooting of Malala Yousafzai was a hoax.)

8. “Assad is innocent until proven guilty.” This is more high irony. The same people who will refuse to believe what the facts all indicate until there is an exhaustive investigation are the last ones to protest when Russia uses its Security Council veto to block an investgation. Apparently, they prefer the comfort of their ignorance.

Putin’s useful idiots on the Internet are also avidly reposting clips from Russian state media (RTSputnikTASS) to the effect that the Red Crescent found no evidence of poisonous gas having been used at Douma. Look past the headlines (heaven forbid), and the claims come from two individual workers with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and the quotes make it ambiguous whether they are refering to the current attack or previous ones. These are completely misleading headlines, and those who share them without even bothering to read them (let alone vet them) are spreading bullshit. Go to the actual website of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and there is not a word about any of this. Their most recent update from Eastern Ghouta is dated Feb. 23.

BBC also quotes Moscow’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov saying: “Our military specialists have visited this place, along with representatives of the Syrian Red Crescent… and they did not find any trace of chlorine or any other chemical substance used against civilians.” OK, could we please get a quote from the Red Crescent on this? They can presumably speak for themselves, rather than through the Russian foreign minister. Thank you.

This innocent-until-proven-guilty line is kind of a soft-sell on the “false flag” tack, but possibly even loopier when you really scratch it, since it implies the attack didn’t even happen. Maybe all those traumatized children in the videos are “crisis actors”?

9. “You sound like John Bolton.” OK, we are to judge facts on the basis of their convenience to imperial propaganda (or our own)? Talk about “post-truth.” And you denialists, by the way, sound like Fox News. Their predictable Tucker Carlson was last night spewing identical shit: “All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children. But do they really know that? Of course, they don’t really know that, they’re making it up. They have no real idea what happened. Actually, both sides in the Syrian Civil War possess chemical weapons. How would it benefit Assad, from using chlorine gas last weekend?”

As Mediaite notes, Carlson then brought on the grievous Glenn Greenwald (who is turning into a regular on Fox News) to spin bankrupt Iraq analogies.

So don’t lecture me about strange bedfellows, Assad-suckers.

3 thoughts on “More bogus ‘anti-war’ responses to Ghouta chemical attack

  1. Will just use comments to most recent Syria related post to add thoughts on current developments. Prefer Syrian sources, current writer positive in many ways like Christopher Hitchens but I would be even more careful of actually endorsing other aspects of politics (eg opposed liberation of Iraq).

    1. Trump statement worth reading. Addressed to Americans but written ambiguously for multiple audiences so more typical of government policy announcements that require careful disentangling.

    My guess is deliberate ambiguity as to whether US is getting more serious for both domestic and international reasons. More likely to be start of a multiple wave attack than just a one off but (deliberaately) still unclear whether start of serious air war. Has dropped removing troops soon while affirming that its up to the region. Names the doomed Sunni autocracies (including Egyptian military dictatorship) as needing to take on the burden. Reality is they all, including even Egypt, have no military capacity so perhaps just pressure for funds from Gulf States to support displaced Syrians and rebuilding. Avoids any mention of Turkey which is in fact currently the most relevant external power and has stayed out of current confrontation re use of chemicals. This is the curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark – on all sides.

    2. OPCW has now announced four independent laboratories confirmed British analysis of chemical composition of agent used in attempted murders in UK (a novichuk).

    No way to chemically identify source, which is Russia based on non-OPCW intelligence estimates. Will probably take them longer to analyse recent Syrian chemical attacks which appear to be chlorine though there is some mention of Sarin. It is understandable that Turkey and others waiting for evidence it was regime rather than unauthorised use by regime forces or desperate attempt to get some help against regime from opposition. Very bad timing for regime so quite likely unauthorised regime forces. Chlorine widely available industrial chemical used in several recent attacks without provoking reaction. Regime leadership should have known that after defeat of Daesh there would be less global toleration of them.


    • 3. Possible straw in the wind?

      This is probably just ongoing German non-interventionism. But I cannot help fantasize that if Germany was preparing to provide troops as inner circle protecting regime supporters from massacre during transition from Assad regime it would be helpful not to have been previously identified with bombing them. (None of Britain, France, Turkey and US would inspire confidence of actual protection for regime supporters and there really isn’t anybody else that I can see acceptable to opposition with any remotely plausible forces even for just an inner ring dependent on others for logistics and outer ring).


  2. 4. It is interesting that US (with Britain and France) fired missiles from Red Sea and Persian Gulf as well as their internal lake, the Mediterranean. This makes no military sense and is just wasteful boasting like the Russians earlier firing from their internal lake, the Caspian. The Black Sea was an interesting omission from this display, which could reflect lack of resources on the spot immediately or avoidance of potentially irritating Turkey. There is a carrier strike group on its way to the region so it would be easy enough to include Black Sea in any future such display if Turkish irritation is not the reason. If they really wanted to make a point to Russia (which is NOT the aim), they could put the entire strike group there and do a much larger wave from the Black Sea right in front of the genuinely powerful Russian fleet there.

    5. Syrians pretending they shot down many missiles. Americans suggesting none, but mainly stressing they destroyed all targets. May or may not emerge later how many if any were in fact shot down. If any, next wave would need to be much less symbolic and actually take out remaining regime air defence which. Needless to say Russian posturing was completely empty. No sign of any Russian participation in regime air defence (and claimed totally wasteful wave of 40 or so SAMs fired after attack nearly over suggests they weren’t even on the phone giving advice against such military stupidity). By way of contrast I vaguely recall that some 25% or so of US Strategic Air Command was shot down in a few days of Xmas bombing of Hanoi decades ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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