by Eric Margolis, Common Dreams Aug. 31, 2013
If the US directly attacks Syria, the real cause will not be the recent chemical attacks. What are 300 or so dead in a 2-year old war fuelled by the western powers that has so far killed over 100,000? Chemical weapons are horrible. So are bullets, shells, bombs, cluster bombs, white phosphorus, and napalm.
After Iraq, we can’t trust western intelligence and so-called evidence. This is not even the main issue at hand though it makes an excellent pretext for outside powers to intervene. The Syrian conflict is a proxy war being waged against Iran by the United States, conservative Arab oil producers, and three former Mideast colonial powers, Britain, France and Turkey who are seeking to restore their domination in the region. Israel cheers from the sidelines. Syria and Hezbollah are Iran’s only Arab friends.
Back in 1990, I was in Baghdad covering the lead-up to the first US war against Iraq. I found four British scientific technicians who told me – and showed documents – that they had been sent by Her Majesty’s government to help Iraq’s biowarfare programs.
The four scientists were stationed at Salman Pak laboratories to manufacture four types of germ weapons for Iraq for use against Iran, including anthrax and q-fever. The feeder stocks for the germ weapons came from a US lab in Maryland; their export was ok’d by Washington. I repeatedly reported on this. During the long, bloody Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the US, Britain, Italy and Germany exported chemical weapons plants and raw material to Iraq that produced Sarin nerve gas and burning mustard gas. Many thousands of Iranian soldiers were killed, horribly burned or blinded by these western-supplied weapons.
So a little less western moral outrage, please, particularly from the Brits whose own sainted Winston Churchill authorized the use of poison gas against rebellious Iraqi and Afghan tribesmen. Let’s also recall how North Vietnam was drenched with the toxic Agent Orange, how the resisting Iraq city of Falluja was showered by white phosphorous, how Iraq was permanently contaminated by radioactive depleted uranium. These foul weapons also kill babies.
At least many Americans seem to have learned caution from the campaign of neocon lies that led them into the 2003 Iraq invasion, one of the biggest disasters and shames in US history. Even some usually bellicose Republicans are urging the Nobel Peace prize winner in the White House and his entourage of bloodthirsty liberals to slow his rush to war and consult Congress.
More tellingly, Gen. Colin Powell, who disgraced himself by parroting the Bush administration’s lies about Iraq also now urges caution over Syria. Powell is right. The US has lost its last two “crusades” in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US has no strategic interests in Syria beyond an obsession to overthrow Iran’s government.
Washington’s Syrian misadventure threatens to put the US on a very perilous collision course with Russia, Syria’s close ally. So far, Russia has sought a diplomatic solution, but it’s most unwise to push tough Vladimir Putin too hard. Syria is as close to Russia as northern Mexico is to the United States. Courting even the remote threat of a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia just to overthrow President Assad, a former US ally, is the height of irresponsibility. [Abridged] © 2013 Eric Margolis