CounterPunch/Dissident Voice/Global Research
by Ben Schreiner
In the wake of having its illegal domestic surveillance
dragnet exposed, laying bare (yet again) the utter duplicity and criminality of
the U.S. ruling class, Washington is once again digging deep to conjure up a
pretext for yet another war of aggression in the Middle East.
Using the tired menace of weapons of mass destruction, the
White House Thursday claimed with “high confidence” that the Syrian regime of
Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons, specifically the nerve agent sarin,
against rebel fighters.
Washington’s announcement of “credible evidence” of chemical
weapons use by Syrian forces, coming despite a dearth of actual hard evidence
revealed, is now being used as the justification for providing direct U.S. military
aid to the Syrian rebels.
The decision to wade further into the Syrian morass,
however, came well before the supposed crossing of President Obama’s “red
As the Washington Post reported, “the determination to send weapons had been made
weeks ago.” Moreover, it has long been known that the CIA was overseeing the arming of opposition groups inside
Syria. The debate in Washington over Syria has
thus really been over the degree and overtness of U.S. military
intervention. And while the typical Republican hawks (John McCain and
Lindsey Graham) have used the latest chemical weapons scare to resume the calls
for a “no-fly zone,” prominent Democrats continue to come around to supporting a “no-fly zone” as well. But
then again, American politics has long stopped at water’s edge.
With such bipartisan war drums beating louder, it's
little surprise to learn that the Pentagon is working on plans for establishing
a “limited no-fly zone” in order to carve out a buffer zone of up to 25 miles along the
This “no-fly zone,” the Wall Street Journal reports,
would “be enforced using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside
the kingdom.” And on cue, the Pentagon has confirmed that it will indeed
be keeping a contingent of F-16s
and Patriot missiles in Jordan following scheduled war games there next
week. (NATO already has Patriot missile batteries stationed along the
The very notion of a “limited no-fly zone,” though, stands as but the
latest addition to Washington's growing newspeak. One may add it to
of “collateral damage,” “surgical strikes,” and “protecting civilians.”
Indeed, as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates remarked prior to the NATO assault on Libya in 2011, “Let’s
just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya
to destroy the air defenses. That’s the way you do a no-fly zone.” Syria
would be no different.
Of course, the latest impetus used for directly arming the Syrian
rebels and reviving the talk of bombing the country—the supposed crossing of
President Obama’s “red line” on chemical weapons—is on its very face tenuous, at best.
According to Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog,
despite their “high confidence,” American
intelligence officials have still not been able to determine a chain of
for the blood samples supplied by Syrian rebels that reportedly tested
sarin. That is, they have not been able to establish who exactly
handled the principal piece of evidence establishing “proof” of chemical
weapons use by
the regime. A rather remarkable admission given that it took two full
weeks for the blood samples to reach Western intelligence agencies from
Faced with such flimsy evidence from U.S. officials, Yuri
Ushakov, senior foreign policy adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, commented that, “what was presented to us by the Americans
does not look convincing.”
“It would be hard even to call them facts,” Ushakov added.
Indeed, as McClatchy reported, independent chemical weapons experts maintain
that “they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite
months of scrutiny.”
“Ultimately, without more information, we are left with the
need to trust the integrity of the U.S. intelligence community in arriving at
its ‘high confidence’ judgment,” Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the
Washington-based Arms Control Association told McClatchy.
And what a leap of faith to place one's trust in the
integrity of the U.S. intelligence community! After all, that would be
the very same intelligence community which claimed it a “slam dunk” that
Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction; the very same intelligence
apparatus now snooping
on the communications of virtually every American.
Given such an abundant recent history of brazen illegality from Washington, it’s no
wonder the American public simply isn’t buying another war in the Middle
East. In fact, just 15 percent in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll favor U.S. military
intervention into Syria. Only 11 percent favor arming the opposition.
Yet, in a revealing look into the anti-democratic impulse of
the U.S. ruling elite who now cynically champion democracy in Syria, former
President Bill Clinton publicly advised President Obama last week to disregard the firm
public opposition to U.S. military intervention into Syria. As Clinton remarked,
“any president risks looking like ‘a total fool’ if they listen too closely to
And thus not wanting to look a fool, President Obama has set
the American war machine on the grinding path toward deeper intervention into
the Syrian conflict. The threat of a global confrontation ensnaring the likes of Iran and global powers Russia and China is
evidently but the price of saving face. Or
as former Obama State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter more tactfully put
it, it's but the price of saving “U.S. credibility.”
The American working class, let alone working people
globally, have nothing to gain from saving Washington's credibility and
its imperial blood lust. In fact, those at real risk of looking like
fools are those still listening to
the deceitful claims of the war-hungry elite.
For amid deepening internal economic and political crises, all the
American ruling class has on offer is but further imperial aggression to
be sold on little more than a pack of
Read at CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, and Global Research.