Drumbeat for War on Syria

Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman, Israel's Longstanding Middle East Plan
Oded Yinon, "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" /
Israel Shahak, "The Zionist Plan for the Middle East"[*]
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, What Israel is really after in Syria
Stephen J. Sniegoski, The Yinon Thesis Vindicated: Neocons,
Israel, and the Fragmentation of Syria

Whenever America goes to war or plans one, media scoundrels march in lockstep. Truth is the first casualty. Managed news misinformation substitutes. It happens every time. It's standard practice.

It's no different this time. Facts on the ground don't matter. They're systematically ignored. Nations Washington opposes are vilified. Harsh media scoundrel rhetoric targets them. It repeats with disturbing frequency. It's escalating now.

Wednesday's Ghouta incident ignited a firestorm. Emotion and misinformation substitute for responsible reporting. Credible analysis is systematically lacking. Fingers point the wrong way. It's de rigueur. It's shameless. It's reprehensible. It's unconscionable. It doesn't matter.

On August 22, New York Times editors headlined "The Corpses in Syria." Assad's government was called a "cutthroat regime." If he's proved responsible for Wednesday's Ghouta incident, "as many suspect, the United States and other major powers will almost certainly have to respond much more aggressively than they have so far," said Times editors.

"Russia and China, veto-wielding council members, have long protected Mr. Assada. Obama's credibility is on the line. We have supported Mr. Obama's cautious approach to Syria, his unwillingness to embroil the United States in another Middle East war, and his push for a negotiated solution, which Russia and Mr. Assad continue to thwart. But chemical weapons would be a chilling escalation. The White House insisted again on Wednesday that those responsible for using them 'must be held accountable.' At some point, those words have to mean something."

Throughout much of the conflict, Washington Post editors supported direct US intervention. Following Wednesday's incident, they urged "direct US retaliation against the Syrian military forces responsible and by adopting a plan to protect civilians in southern Syria with a no-fly zone." They barely stopped short of urging full-scale war. It won't surprise if a forthcoming editorial does so.

On August 23, the Wall Street Journal headlined "US Weights Plans to Punish Assad," saying:

"The US began refining its military options for possible strikes in Syria, officials said, and initiated diplomatic efforts to craft an international response to allegations that Syria's government killed over 1,100 civilians with chemical weapons. US military options include potential strikes on 'regime targets,' including Syrian government functions crucial to its war effort. [They] "include strikes on Syrian military 'delivery capabilities and systems' that are either used directly in attacks with poison gas or to facilitate them, from command-and-control facilities to front-line artillery batteries, officials said. Officials said these options are being fine-tuned by military officials so Mr. Obama can act in short order if a determination is made that Mr. Assad's forces carried out chemical attacks and if Mr. Obama chooses to respond with force."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius urged responding with "a reaction of force." He said if Russia blocks decisive Security Council action, "another way" should be approved.

WSJ editors went on the warpath. They headlined "Double-Secret Probation for Bashar," saying:

Obama warned a year ago. He said using chemical weapons crosses his "red line." Doing so "would change (his) calculus." He repeated the warning several times. It's "had no discernible impact" on his "calculus." "Assad's behavior has grown commensurately more brazen as a result. The dynamic played out again this week as the world saw what appears to be Assad's latest chemical attack: rows of corpses, some of them of infants, bundled in white sheets. [Administration] "indifference masquerad(es) as moral outrage. (W)hen the next chemical attack (occurs) and the White House reacts with similarly hollow protests, someone in the Administration might have the decency to resign."

Chicago Tribune editors headlined "Atrocity in Syria," asking:

"How will the world respond to a suspected war crime? The world may be heading toward a showdown in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack launched by government forces, killing scores of civilians near Damascus." [Suspicions that] "Assad's forces unleashed toxic chemicals may harden into evidence of a war crime. If so, that would - and should - change the world's calculation about how to help rebels overthrow Assad." [World leaders] "approach a moment of decision." Will they "impose a no-fly zone. Or will (they) shrug, await Assad's next outrage, and debate the meaning of 'red line?"

Los Angeles Times editors headlined "Enforcing a 'red line' on Syria," saying:

"If new reports of the use of nerve gas to massacre hundreds of Syrian civilians are confirmed, Obama must make good on that warning to punish the government and protect its population. (I)deally (he must do so) in concert with other nations. The Syrian government must not be allowed to cross (Obama's) line with impunity."

London Guardian editors headlined "Syria: chemical weapons with impunity," saying: "There is next to no doubt that chemical weapons were used in Ghouta." Guardian editors compared the incident to Saddam attacking Kurds in Halabja. It's an "unmistaken challenge" to Obama's "red line" vow, they said. There's not "much doubt about who committed the atrocity." Despite clear evidence suggesting otherwise, Guardian editors blamed Assad. At the same time, they see no best option. Ones suggested are "all bad. That leaves a regional war in freefall," they added. This chemical attack may not be the last."

Enlisting public support for war requires selling it. Previous articles explained. In 1917, Woodrow Wilson's Committee on Public Information (Creel Committee) turned pacifist Americans into raging German haters. Wilson's 1916 campaigned promised no war. He was reelected pledging "He Kept Us Out of War." Straightaway, he began planning US involvement. He got the war he wanted.

Edward Bernays (1891 - 1995) is considered the father of public relations (aka propaganda). He said it's possible to "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies. If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?" He called the technique the "engineering of consent." He invented the press release. He used it effectively. He used Freudian psychoanalytic techniques. He believed manipulating public opinion was needed to sell ideas. He called engineering consent "the very essence of the democratic process." He ignored how it's used manipulatively to sell war, not peace.

Big Lies launch wars. They're weapons of mass deception. They work when repeated ad nauseam. It's the same every time. They facilitate America's permanent war agenda. They advance imperial lawlessness. One country after another is ravaged. Syria is Washington's latest target. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. Political solutions are systematically avoided. It's a US tradition.

In 1845, America lawlessly annexed Texas. It was Mexican territory. President James Polk said he'd ask Congress to declare war if Mexican forces retaliated. He wanted war whether or not they did. He got the war he wanted. Half of Mexico was annexed. America expanded from "sea to shining sea." It did so through lawless imperialism.

In 1898, Cubans neared freeing themselves from Spanish colonial rule. President William McKinley promised to respect its sovereignty. He lied. "Remember the Maine." On February 15, a huge explosion sunk it. The Spanish-American war followed. William Randolph Hearst hyped the Big Lie. He wrongfully blamed Spain. An internal coal bunker explosion was responsible. It didn't matter. He told his Havana illustrator: "You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."

Big Lies work that way. They're an American tradition. They're headlined again now. They manipulate public opinion. They manufacture consent. Are they heading America for war on Syria? The fullness of time will tell.

[*] 22 - Lebanon's total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi'ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today. [Oded Yinon]

[*] 23 - Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization. [Oded Yinon]


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He has devoted his time and efforts to progressive causes and organizations, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. His efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. He also co-hosts The Global Research News Hour, gives occasional public talks, and appears frequently on radio and at times television. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. Also visit his blog and listen to The Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening. His new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" can be ordered HERE. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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