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Obama Prioritizes War

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Jun. 01, 2012 at 9:22 PM


Obama Prioritizes War

by Stephen Lendman

Colleagues say killing comes easy for Obama. So does his insatiable appetite for war. Duplicitous rhetoric hides it. Close advisors know better.

America is on a fast track toward attacking Syria. Humanitarian intervention hypocrisy justified war on Libya. Expect something similar used for Damascus.

On May 30, The New York Times headlined "For the White House, a Wary Wait as Syria Boils," saying:

Former Syrian ambassador Edward Djerejian said:

"You may come to the point where you have the Srebrenica syndrome."

Never mind that it was more myth than massacre.

"Once a (real or contrived) humanitarian disaster looms so large, the international community becomes forced to act despite the national security considerations and the more levelheaded thinking on the consequences of military action."

Whether Houla killings rise to that level remains to be seen. Obama advisors expect him to respond aggressively. It's planned. It's coming. If not Houla, then perhaps Houla 2.0 will trigger it.

Lots of scenarios can be contrived. Incidents are easily instigated, manipulated, and exploited. "Every week or so, a cabinet or deputy cabinet-level meeting" convenes on Syria. Options stress more aggressiveness.

Pentagon war plans are ready. Bombs away could happen any time. US land, sea and air forces are positioned nearby. Britain, France, other NATO partners, and regional allies stand ready to help.

Hawkish UN envoy Susan Rice said if crisis resolution isn't found, Washington and partner nations will have to decide whether to act "outside of the authority of this Council."

"At this point, (it) does not seem" likely that Assad will "immediately implement its commitments under the Annan plan as it's obliged to do under UN Security Council resolutions."

Clearly, she's promoting war. Russia vows to block any authorizing Security Council resolution. Doing so won't matter if Washington circumvents UN authority.

Insurgents declared an end to ceasefire. They mocked it from day one. Kofi Annan's peace plan is cover for imperial war.

As UN Secretary-General, he backed them throughout his tenure. His role is similar now. In 2001, the Nobel Committee awarded him its Peace Prize for services rendered. In 2009, Obama got it for the same reason and what was expected from him. He didn't disappoint.

On May 30, Foreign Policy (FP) headlined "What the Hell Should We Do About Syria?"

Five one-sided contributors gave answers. Alternative voices weren't invited.

Robin Yassin-Kassab said "Arm the Guerrillas." Maybe he didn't notice the consistent heavy weapons flows, or perhaps he wants much more sent.

He called Assad's government "treasonous." That's why he "support(s) supplying weapons to the Free Syrian Army. Let's get it over with as soon as possible."

Yassin-Kassab serves as Critical Muslim co-editor.

Rand Slim said "Talk to Iran." He blamed Houla killings on Assad. His strategy is "survival at any cost and through any means. (He) does not have a Plan B."

He's "digging in for a long fight." Boil over tensions hit Lebanon. Insurgent weapons flow in like water. Don't expect them "to be a game-changer." Nor will international negotiations.

Talk to Iran. Maybe a deal can be arranged benefitting its government and the West. How wasn't explained.

Slim is a New American Foundation adjunct research fellow and Middle East Institute scholar.

Bilal Saab said "Don't copy Yemen." It's too late for diplomacy, he believes. More aggressive action is needed. Saab stopped short of endorsing war, but implied it.

Saab is a Monterey Institute of International Studies visiting fellow.

Andrew Tabler said "Cut off Assad's lifelines."

He favors increased White House pressure, greater support for insurgents, enlisting Syrian Kurds and Arab tribe support for insurrection, safe zones in neighboring countries, buffer ones in Syria, and blockading Syria's coast.

Implementing these policies assures war. He favors it, saying:

"Washington may need to carry out surgical airstrikes or similar measures....Assad must go at all costs."

Tabler is Washington Institute for Near East Policy Senior Fellow.

Andrew Exum says "Lock up the WMDs."

He favors aiding insurgents, publicizing "regime atrocities," exerting more international pressure, having military options ready, and containing possible spread of "chemical or biological weapons...."

Exum is a Center for a New American Security senior fellow.

Foreign Policy excluded peace advocates. Analysts knowing Western-recruited insurgents ravage Syria, not Assad, weren't invited.

Hawks favoring regime change were featured. Readers weren't told what's going on, what's at stake, and what's planned.

Last year, Gaddafi was treated the same way. Intervention left Libya a charnel house. Violence still rages. Conflict resolution is distant at best.

Pro-Western puppets head an interim government. Change won't follow upcoming elections. Washington intends treating Syrians the same way.

They know what happened in Iraq and Libya and reject it. Why else would Assad command majority support? The grim alternative is unacceptable.

London Guardian writer Patrick Seale knows Syria well. He wrote Hafez Assad's biography titled: "Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East."

On May 27, he headlined "In Syria, this is no plan for peace," saying:

Washington wants regime change. Annan's so-called peace plan is "in tatters." Urban "guerrilla war" prevents it. They reject ceasefire and negotiations. They want Assad toppled.

Rhetorically the Obama administration supports peace. At the same time, "it is unashamedly undermining it by helping to arm the rebels. This is the central contradiction in US policy."

"....Islamic jihadis, some of them linked to al-Qaida, entered Syria from Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan." They bear direct responsibility for dozens of large and smaller scale "terrorist acts."

Houla and Damascus on May 10 killing 55 and wounding hundreds were most serious. Insurgents "seek to trigger a foreign armed intervention by staging lethal clashes and blaming the resulting carnage on the regime."

Assad confronts them to survive. America heads "an external conspiracy" to topple him. "Trapped between opposing forces, civilians inevitably pay the price." They do in all conflicts.

On May 31, UK-based Media Lens headlined "The Houla Massacre," saying:

Scoundrel media commentaries told readers "where to direct their anger." Assad's government is called "brutal." Blame focuses solely on him.

Sunday in the London Independent, David Randall "wrote bitterly:"

"He is the President; she is the First Lady; they are dead children. He governs but doesn't protect; she shops and doesn't care."

"And one hopes that those on the United Nations Security Council, when it reconvenes, will look into the staring eyes of these dead children and remember the hollow words of Assad's wife when she simpered that she 'comforts the families' of her country's victims."

Media Lens countered:

"What kind of evidence would the media need before finding Barack Obama (and even Michelle Obama) personally responsible" for slaughtering Afghans and others in US war theaters?

An Observer cartoon showed Assad "with his mouth and face smeared with the blood of children." The Independent showed him "sitting in a bath filled with blood."

Media Lens challenged Observer cartoonist Martin Rowson, saying:

"On what actual evidence about the massacre in Houla is your cartoon based?"

He replied saying he had none. He based his cartoon on a "hunch." Doing so coined a new phrase: hunch journalism. Might as well call it bad fiction.

It's known that Houla shelling didn't cause mass deaths. House-to-house close range killing was responsible. Assad's forces had nothing to do with it. Media scoundrel journalists and cartoonists didn't explain.

"The BBC also had no doubts about culpability. Diplomatic correspondent James Robbins said:"

"The UN now says most victims, including many children, were murdered inside their homes by President Assad's militias."

In fact, the UN blamed Assad for small numbers of deaths from artillery shells. Death squad assassins bore most responsibility.

Robbins reports on BBC's highest profile news program. Media Lens exposed his lie. "This is typical of the propaganda that issues forth from the BBC." Misinformation and lies substitute for honest reporting and analysis.

Western media rarely offer dissenting views. Media Lens quoted Conflicts Forum Alastair Crooke. Commented on Houla responsibility, he said:

"We don’t know for sure yet…But one thing that stands out quite clearly, and which is very important, is that the methodology, this type of killing - of beheadings, of slitting of throats, slitting of throats of children, too, and of this mutilation of bodies - has been a characteristic, not of Levantine Islam, not of Syria, not of Lebanon, but really of what happened in the Anbar province of Iraq."

"....what we’re looking at here is a deliberate and cold-blooded attempt to cast Syria into civil war, to initiate civil war, to bring Western intervention, if possible. But simply, again, to bring down the regime."

"And it is clearly, I think, perpetrated in the interests of those external parties and groups at the end of the spectrum of the opposition, which are jihadi groups, who want no part in the peace process but who want to bring down the system and for Syria to turn into civil war."

Daily Mail contributor John Bradley said:

"The expressions of outrage over Houla and the consequent threats of military action all feed into the conventional Western narrative of the Syrian crisis whereby Assad is portrayed as a bloodthirsty tyrant and the rebels as heroic freedom-fighters trying to liberate the Syrian people from oppression."

"It is a picture that has been sedulously cultivated by the anti-Assad opposition, who are masters of manipulative propaganda aimed at gullible Western politicians, broadcasters and protest groups."

"But the truth about the violence in Syria is far more complex than Assad’s enemies would have us believe."

Unfortunately, a tsunami of media deception and lies drowns out these type thoughtful commentaries. Massacres, false flags, drumbeat propaganda, and other ways are used to launch imperial wars. Preventing them is daunting.

America's 2010 US Military Special Forces Unconventional Warfare (UW) Manual states:

"The intent of U.S. [Unconventional Warfare] UW efforts is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives…For the foreseeable future, U.S. forces will predominantly engage in irregular warfare (IW) operations."

More from it says:

"There is another type of warfare—new in its intensity, ancient in its origin—war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest."

The manual includes other ways to destabilize and topple governments. They include strikes, boycotts, inciting public discontent, infiltration, agitation, foreign propaganda, and providing "material, money, weapons and equipment."

Instigators are called liberators. Violence and sabotage follow. When government forces confront responsible parties, "exploit the negative consequences to garner more (public) sympathy and support...."

Propaganda always is key. Houla massacre reporting mocks the notion of fair and balanced journalism. It's one of daily examples.

According to Media Lens:

"War, again war, always war - endless war! But then corporate greed is a form of eternal war in pursuit of profit. We are living, very clearly, in a pathologically violent and structurally insane society."

Confronting it presents a daunting challenge. Failure assures endless conflicts, bloodshed, and human suffering. Only public rage might stop it. It always faces long odds.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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