Sep 16, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama appears to have pulled back from his threat to bomb Syria. Instead, the U.S. and Russian governments agreed to act together in Syria over the question of the Syrian government’s stockpile of chemical weapons, as well as some kind of broader political settlement.
But that does not mean the U.S. has dropped its intention to intervene in Syria – in one way or another.
No one should fall for the pretended shock of U.S. officials and the news media over the use of chemical weapons to kill hundreds or even more civilians in Syria. This is nothing but cynical posturing.
The war in Syria has cost over 100,000 lives. Is the killing of civilians by chemical weapons so much more horrific than the deaths by bombing, burning, and slashing that has taken the lives of over 100,000?
Today, the U.S. is deeply involved in the Syrian civil war. The U.S. government, along with Turkey and the dictators of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has unofficially provided aid and support to Syrian rebels opposing the Assad regime. And those U.S.-backed rebel forces have carried out their own brand of death and destruction – which the U.S. government has said nothing about.
Whatever terrible weapons the Assad regime has used against the Syrian people pale in comparison to the U.S. military’s own record of atrocities all over the world. During the Viet Nam War, the U.S. military murdered and crippled millions with Agent Orange and napalm. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. dropped cluster bombs and white phosphorous specifically in order to murder civilians. And the depleted uranium shells that the U.S. military fired in those countries will poison the land and water for centuries to come.
No, the U.S. government is not intervening in Syria out of some moral concern for the lives of Syrian civilians. To U.S. policy makers, civilian deaths are little more than what U.S. officials call “collateral damage.”
If the Obama administration has pulled back from bombing Syria, it is only because the U.S. rulers have decided, at least temporarily, that there is too much risk of destabilizing Syria completely, too much risk of adding to the chaos the U.S.’s other wars have created in the region.
In the last 12 years, the U.S. invaded and occupied two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. is also carrying out secret wars in Yemen and Pakistan. One of the U.S.’s client states in the region, Egypt, is consumed by conflicts that could develop into a full-fledged civil war. And there is the continuing war that the Israeli state is waging against the Palestinian population.
So, the U.S. ruling class is being careful in Syria. It is not sure if it wants to replace one dictator, Assad, with other forces that might less serve the interests of the U.S. global super power.
While the Assad government remained aligned with Russia over the years in order to keep a small bit of distance from the dictates of the U.S. superpower, it still served U.S. interests. It cracked down on its own population and maintained the status quo, not just in Syria, but in the surrounding countries, such as Lebanon.
In other words, the Assad regime has ensured the continued super profits of the international bourgeoisie, especially the oil companies, weapons makers and the banks. And that’s the main issue for the U.S. bourgeoisie.
The U.S. population is right to oppose military intervention in Syria, right to be sick and tired of all the wars, right to want troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the U.S. population will never be free from these wars while imperialism rules. The armies of the international bourgeoisie, led by the U.S. ruling class, impose crushing exploitation on the populations and resources of the world for the profit of the U.S. capitalist class, as well as its allies and cronies from the region and the other imperialist states. That is the problem.
The horrific deaths from the chemical attacks; the 100,000 who have already died in the Syrian civil war; all those who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ... these deaths are on their hands.