Apr 9, 2017
Accusing Bashar al-Assad of using nerve gas against civilians, Trump ordered a cruse- missile attack on a Syrian airbase.
Of course, al-Assad could have ordered a deadly attack on Syrian civilians. He is a vicious dictator, and this would not be the first attack he directed against civilians.
But we’ve been lied to before by U.S. presidents. Afghanistan supposedly directed the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Saddam Hussein supposedly stored nuclear weapons. Both accusations were fabricated, contrived to get popular support for the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and of Iraq in 2003.
In any case, whatever al-Assad did, the U.S. didn’t attack Syria to support the Syrian people. In fact, the U.S. was already bombing Syria as part of the larger war it has been carrying out throughout the whole Middle East.
On March 16, U.S. air strikes hit a mosque complex near the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing more than 60 civilians. On March 20, U.S. air strikes on a school in the Syrian city of Raqqa, killed 33 civilians. On March 17, U.S. air strikes and artillery flattened a big part of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, killing hundreds of civilians. In early March, the U.S. sent 40 bombing raids against Yemen in less than a week.
For years, U.S. officials pretended that the wars the U.S. military had launched in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003 were over. The U.S. supposedly wasn’t involved in Syria and Yemen. The wars going on in the Middle East were only “civil wars,” with the U.S. playing no role.
In reality, the U.S. never stopped being the major player in these wars. Since mid-2014, the U.S. carried out 18,900 air strikes on Iraq and Syria – started under Obama, continued under Trump.
The U.S. has thrown armies into battle throughout the region. Most of the troops were sent by others: allied governments like Turkey and Saudi Arabia; puppet regimes like those in Iraq and Afghanistan; war lords with their militias and terrorist gangs; “private U.S. military contractors” with their mercenaries. They all wear different uniforms, but they all get their money and arms from the U.S., no matter who is president.
Even if the U.S. never sent another of its own soldiers into the region, these wars would still be U.S. wars – directed by the U.S. military, paid for by the U.S. government, fought to let U.S. corporations rob the region of its oil.
But today U.S. troops are going back in: to Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Syria and to Yemen.
The whole region is already an intensifying catastrophe. Millions are dead. Masses of people have no place to live, no food to eat, no hospitals, no clean water, etc. The numbers are staggering. The United Nations recently warned, for example, that more than half the population of Yemen faces famine and starvation because of the war, while more than half the population in Syria has been forced from their homes and are living as refugees.
These are U.S. wars. And we pay a big price for them. We pay in a practical way because the money to pay for them is taken from our children’s schools, from our roads, water systems, from all the things needed for us to have a decent life.
But above all, we pay a price humanly. If we ignore them, we give free rein to the U.S. ruling class, which wants these wars, and carries them out in our name. In front of the whole world, they become wars owned by the American people.
Maybe we don’t get much news about what’s happening in the Middle East, and what we do get hides reality, when it’s not an outright lie.
But we should understand enough about this country’s ruling class to know that, if they go to war, it is not in the interest of any people. It is for the profit of U.S. corporations and banks.
The big companies and their government are our enemy in this country. They systematically and viciously drive down our standard of living.
They are every bit as much our enemy when they take this country to war. They are the enemy of peoples everywhere, here and around the world.