The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

One Dirty War Looks Much Like Another Dirty War

Sep 2, 2013

For over a year, President Obama has repeated that if the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, it would cross a “red line” and that the Western powers would have to intervene.

The pictures of victims of poison gas in the Damascus suburb of Ghoula show all the horror of these weapons. It is monstrous that more than a thousand women and children were massacred, dying after terrible suffering.

It’s important to remember that these weapons were first used by the same big powers that today are so indignant against Syria. During World War I, poison gas was widely used by both sides in the fighting. After that war, the use of poison gas was forbidden, but that didn’t prevent the European states and the U.S. from continuing to make it and store it. Even today, all armies that have the resources carry out research on biological, chemical and other types of warfare, which are just as deadly as the mustard gas used from 1914 to 1918.

It’s no comfort for the civilian population that the big powers prohibit the use of chemical weapons, since they have also developed weapons that are easier to manipulate and are more precise. The British first used napalm incendiary bombs in the civil war in Greece after World War II, and then the U.S. and France used it in their colonial wars, especially in Viet Nam and Algeria. Vietnamese villagers were burned alive, and those who survived still carry the after-effects. And on a much greater scale, the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the most murderous weapons of mass destruction used so far in world history.

The great powers crossed the “red line” a long time ago.