We All Fall In Line

(TFC) – The Canadian government says two things. One: “We must urge the international community to investigate to find out if Assad is responsible”. Two: “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be punished for using chemical weapons against civilians”.

This form of speak is detrimental to democratic process. It furthers the propaganda and diaspora that surrounds this horrendous event and propagates to further inflame the situation. Canadians are now led to believe Bashar al-Assad is responsible for this chemical weapons attack by simply believing our government officials. Now forgoing the rule of law, as Syria had not directly attacked the US, Canada supports this unilateral action on a moral basis. Which is the only way support can be rallied, in such a short amount of time.

A country cannot, in sound moral standing, advocate or support a military response; while at the same time not knowing, decisively, who was behind the very reason for the “surgical strikes” to be carried out. This Language also muddies the reality that military action can, and has been, barbarous and murderous. It downplays what really happens when human beings are slaughtered and killed, and it makes these actions look intelligent and measured when they are not.

All of this comes from an apparent gas attack that killed up to 70 people, some children in northern Syria on April 4, 2017. Almost immediate and conclusive condemnation thundered in, blaming Assad.

On April 6, Statements from Prime Minister Trudeau, “..continuing questions… about who is responsible for these horrible acts” and the next day, April 7, the PM stated, “Canada fully supports the United States’ limited and focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many children. President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes that the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue with impunity.”

Holding war criminals accountable for their crimes isn’t easy, but how are we to have a moral standing when we carry out the same barbarous actions under moral flags. Then once the war drums sound, the impenetrable echoes for war drown out all voices of dissent. Those who do dissent are vilified and denounced as Kremlin agents and propagandists. The absolute truth that Assad was behind the chemical weapons attack was concrete and solidified a day later.

Image Source: Alex Indigo, Flickr, Creative Commons 

Susan Rice, former President Obama’s national security advisor said, “We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.” So what is now happening in Syria? Without an investigation to uncover the truth of this deplorable event, how should we know how to appropriately act? With Syria moving towards winning the war, an airstrike by Syrian aircraft on a rebel depot holding the chemicals was hit.

This war which has its early roots from the US invasion of Iraq, descended even further into madness as Assad directed his security forces to open fire on demonstrators during the Arab Spring uprising. A truly horrific chain of events followed. With a Syrian government killing hundreds of thousands of people during an uprising and then cascading into a proxy war bringing in foreign fighters, multiple factions and regional groups including Al Qaeda, and seeing the formation of ISIS. Not even to mention other nation states like Iran, the Gulf States, and Israel. Later Russia and the US – including their allies began serious intervention.

The very refugees Trump denies entry to in the US, he will then unleash military force upon. The refugees number in the millions.

US forces in the region have not been without innocent blood spilled. Last month destroying a mosque, killing dozens. Before US airstrikes, there was an extensive CIA operation to fund, arm, and train “Anti-Assad Rebels”. All of this spiraling out of control. Scores of civilians killed or injured every day, and the complexity and inability to see clear sides and aims furthers the fog of war and uncertainty.

Canada has an opportunity to be the voice of reason and initially, it looked like we were about to step out of the United States shadow for that brief glimpse. Sadly it did not last and rather quick, just as within the US, our government fell in line with the major political class elite. US media steadfastly moves itself into a state-run echo chamber. Utilizing a plethora of former generals and terrorism experts to solidify and direct the war narrative. “Surgical strikes”, “limited engagement”, and “smart bombs” are war rhetoric designed to twist the reality of friendly forces dropping high explosive armaments that literally incinerate people to death as an acceptable and desirable act that is both effective and decisive.

All the while as these attacks commence, media pundits lavished over how President Trump has risen to “presidential status”. A New York Times article even ran a column on how Trump’s heart was appealed too, rather than perhaps the more real and genuine – political pressure he is facing as a President floundering in the polls. During the missile strikes, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria stated, “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States.” Zakaria, had for the past month denounced all things Trump. Brian Williams called the strikes “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield” as he spoke with terrorism expert Malcolm Nance. Anyone denouncing military intervention by Trump is now a fringe crazy, Russian puppet, or enemy propagandist. Surely no sane patriotic American could dissent against the President?

State and party media stories like this do a disservice to the public, by distracting and supporting illegal military actions that do more to undermine and inflame conflicts than they do to solve them. The public will always be the ones to suffer, whether they are asked to pick up massive amounts of debt for increased military spending, or when waves of refugees flee the areas that our governments drop bombs on.

Trump ordering an assault on the Syrian government, with no congressional and democratic debate or authorization, is illegal. However, since executive power is firmly entrenched and unquestionable, no one cares to dispense with the legalities and due process. He hadn’t even cared enough to justify vaguely, if possible, through the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). However since Obama was able to wage war against Libya without Congressional approval, how so should this be different?

We’ve now moved beyond some hard lines, and when a Presidents actions inexorably escalate a country into further conflict, it should be met with firm criticisms and probing questions about legitimacy and legality. Instead, allies and political leaders line up to support such reprehensible and very reckless actions, all according to what party pundits demand from a President.

Where is the dissent?