Sunday, September 8, 2013

I can think of at least seven reasons not to attack Syria

The Insanity of Another Mideast War

In 1939 and 1940, Hitler conquered the great majority of Europe. You will no doubt recall from your high school history classes that he did very well in his military excursions, or at least at first. Austria and Czechoslovakia fell first, then Poland, followed by Holland, Belgium and France. By that time Spain and Italy were already aligned with Hitler's Germany. Then, Hitler attacked Great Britain but failed – twice – and things started going downhill from there for Nazi Germany. Failing to conquer the British Isles got Hitler flustered. So, by the summer of 1941, Hitler decided to attack Russia, a country more than ten times the size of Germany, whose military prowess was more than a match for the German armed forces. That December, Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, which got America involved in WW2. Germany then declared war on the US, and vice-versa. So, Germany found itself fighting a war on 2 fronts: one East of Germany with Russia, the other West of Germany with America. Germany ended up getting obliterated when it took on more military opponents than it could handle.

I find it more than a little disturbing that our country's military is in the process of making the same mistake Hitler made over 70 years ago. We have troops and so-called “contractors” – a barely concealed pronoun for “black ops” mercenaries – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, plus the Balkans and Germany in Europe, and that's not counting more than 100 countries globally. As of this coming week, president Obama is going to take his case – or more accurately that of the US military-industrial complex – to Congress and to the American people. Speaking as a person who is opposed to waging warfare, and having concluded long ago that war is obscenely immoral, I am vehemently opposed to any so-called “limited” engagements with Syria. President Bush and his advisers either didn’t know or didn’t care about the probable consequences of their decision to invade and occupy Iraq back in 2003. This resulted in the following:

  • Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and over 4,000 Americans dead;
  • Millions of Iraqis and Americans wounded physically and psychologically;
  • Legions of young men of the region now experienced in warfare and for hire moving from Iraq to Libya to Syria;
  • The Iraqi “democratic” government, which is evidently unable to control the whirlwind of sectarian violence that is now killing and maiming hundreds each week.

Although the U.S. invaded and occupied Afghanistan under a different rationale, it is very important to acknowledge the tens of thousands of Afghan citizens who have been killed or wounded in the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The further consequences of the Afghan war was several thousand Americans dead and tens of thousands maimed, wounded or injured. Let's now fast forward to the present day, where President Obama has not spelled out the possible consequences of a military attack on Syria, but U.S. military leaders are repeatedly warning about the risks. In a letter to the Senate Armed Services committee, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey wrote last month said, “As we weigh our options, we should be able to conclude with some confidence that use of force will move us toward the intended outcome.” “Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.” General James Mattis, who retired recently as head of the U.S. Central Command, said last month at a security conference that the United States has “no moral obligation to do the impossible” in Syria. “If Americans take ownership of this, this is going to be a full throttle, very, very serious war.” That's right, general. An all-out brawl in the Middle East which could easily trigger World War Three. We can make some educated guesses of what the “unintended consequences” could be:

  1. Syrian anti-aircraft batteries will fire their rockets at incoming U.S. missiles.
  2. Many Syrians on the ground will die and both the U.S. and Syrian governments will say the deaths are the fault of the other.
  3. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus will be attacked and burned, as may other U.S. Embassies and businesses in the Middle East.
  4. Syria might also launch rockets toward the U.S. ally in the region—Israel.
  5. Israel would launch bombing missions on Syria as it has three times in the past two years and perhaps take the opportunity to launch an attack on Syria’s strongest ally in the region – Iran.
  6. Iran, a country with a population of 80 million and having the largest military in the region untouched by war in the past 25 years, might retaliate with missiles aimed toward Israel and toward nearby U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, Turkey, Bahrain and Qatar.
  7. Iran could block the Straits of Hormuz and impede the transport of oil out of the Persian Gulf.

What is the political end state we’re trying to achieve?” said a retired senior officer involved in Middle East operational planning who said his concerns are widely shared by active-duty military leaders. “I don’t know what it is. We say it’s not regime change. If it’s punishment, there are other ways to punish.”

Could there be an underlying reason to attack Syria that is being concealed from the American people? There sure is. Let me give you the short version of what's being done and why. In an August 2013 article titled “Larry Summers and the Secret ‘End-game’ Memo, columnist, journalist and blogger Greg Palast posted evidence of a secret late-1990s plan devised by Wall Street and U.S. Treasury officials to open banking to the lucrative derivatives business. The cynically named “end-game” would require not just coercing support among World Trade Organization members, but taking down those countries refusing to join. Some key countries remained holdouts from the WTO, including Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria. As of this writing, the only one of those four countries still standing is Iran. In most Islamic countries, banks are largely state-owned, and usury – charging rent for the “use” of money, hence the name – is viewed as a sin, if not a crime. That puts them at odds with the Western model of rent extraction by private middlemen. Not all these countries were Islamic. Forty percent of banks globally are publicly-owned. They are largely in the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — which house forty percent of the global population. To make the world safe for usury, these rogue states had to be silenced by other means. Having failed to succumb to economic coercion, they wound up in the cross-hairs of the powerful US military. In this August 22nd article, Greg Palast posted a screen shot of a 1997 memo from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then Assistant Secretary of International Affairs under Robert Rubin, to Larry Summers, then Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. Geithner referred in the memo to the “end-game of WTO financial services negotiations”.

The game then in play was the deregulation of banks so that they could gamble in the lucrative new field of derivatives. But the plan required more than just deregulating US banks. Banking controls had to be eliminated globally so that money would not flee to nations with safer banking laws. The “endgame” was to achieve this global deregulation through an obscure addendum to the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organization, called the Financial Services Agreement. Palast wrote:

Until the bankers began their play, the WTO agreements dealt simply with trade in goods–that is, my cars for your bananas. The new rules ginned-up by Summers and the banks would force all nations to accept trade in "bads" – toxic assets like financial derivatives. Until the bankers' re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders. The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to Citibank, JP Morgan and their derivatives "products." And all 156 nations in the WTO would have to smash down their own Glass-Steagall divisions between commercial savings banks and the investment banks that gamble with derivatives. WTO members were induced to sign the agreement by threatening their access to global markets if they refused”.

That was the fate of countries in the WTO, but Palast did not discuss those that were not in that organization at all, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. These seven countries were named by U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.) in a 2007 “Democracy Now” interview as the new 'rogue states' being targeted for take down after September 11, 2001. He said that about 10 days after 9-11, he was told by a general that the decision had been made to go to war with Iraq. Later, the same general said they planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. What did these countries have in common? Besides being Islamic, they were not members either of the WTO or of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That left them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland. Other countries later identified as 'rogue states' that were also not members of the BIS included North Korea, Cuba, and Afghanistan. Does everybody else reading this see the pattern that has developed here as clearly as I do? I am sure of it! There was a nonfiction book published a couple of years ago titled, “War Is A Lie”. As you can see from the above facts I have gathered, that is absolutely true.

This leads to a loaded question, maybe even literally. Having learned what the American public is currently learning about all of the above, the endless wars, the NSA spying, the unauthorized military actions overseas, and the inescapable fact that our entire government has been bought and paid for by corporate America as well as Wall Street (even to the point that our country is becoming dysfunctional?), could opposition by a war-weary American public to US involvement in Syria lead to another series of antiwar protests such as what America experienced from the mid-60's until the early 70's? When we add to this mix the multitudes of unemployed, or grossly underemployed, American workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas for pennies on the dollar, the millions of pensioners who got cheated out of their retirement savings when their former employers closed down, and still more multitudes of unemployed young adults, some with Masters degrees, who are stuck living with their parents while trying to pay off student loans costing more than a typical mortgage, then you have a recipe for civil unrest of the highest magnitude. The March on Washington in August 1963 would seem like child's play by comparison. To those who may disagree, I would only tell you to look around you, and check out what's been happening since the 2011 Arab Spring. What started in Tunisia spread east to Egypt, and then north across the Mediterranean to Greece, and then west to Spain. During the Movement's crossing of the Mediterranean, some embers fell over Syria, and that entire country has become engulfed, and it has been burning out of control for quite some time now. The exact same scenario is poised to play out here in the US. All of the identical ingredients are already there. The only remaining question is, what will be the spark that sets it off? If not another war that nobody wants, then it will be something else that is currently not foreseeable. But you can bet the very shoes on our feet that it will.

Americans will have to decide for themselves who will represent them once they recognize and accept that both major parties are in the employ of the corporate interests that fund their campaigns. We may as well include the possibility that we may start all over again, with just the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights as the framework upon which it will rest. When they do, they will abandon the myth of the two-party system and realize that solving the problems threatening the viability of the American experiment in democracy is more important than ideology. How one wants to describe the system of government will be unimportant if we hand complete control of it to a police state that operates exclusively in the interest of the economic elite.

Events are conspiring that seem to be leading inevitably to the kind of awakening among average Americans that we have been working towards since it became obvious that the Anglo-American Empire is no longer afraid of public opinion in the US or anywhere else. Just as the power of the banks was revealed by the immunity for the crimes they committed that crashed the US and world economies, the threatened assault on Syria is leading to outrage throughout the majority of the American public. The lies are so transparent that even the Washington Post began to refer to the "alleged" use of chemical weapons by the Syrian military in a story about the decisive defeat in Parliament of a vote to support an illegal, non-UN-sanctioned US attack.

It is becoming easier to help newly alert citizens to connect the dots that have been obvious to some of us for some time. The furious reaction to the revelations of NSA spying have interrupted the ongoing partisan nonsense of pundits representing the two sides of the corporate duopoly long enough for them to agree that the abridgment of civil liberties has gone on long enough, prompting even Congress to act. The furor resulted in the near-passage on a bipartisan vote of the 'Amash amendment' that would have restricted NSA spying. Such resistance to Presidential overreach of authority to strip Americans of basic constitutional rights would have been unthinkable even six months ago. It is only a matter of time before Americans collectively grasp the idea that war abroad, economic disaster, and suspension of civil liberties at home are all symptoms of the same problem: corporate control of the US government. When they do, they will be ready for the solution. The only question remaining here is, will the top 1% give back the huge chunks of America that they have taken over the years, and will governing power be peacefully returned to “we the people”, or will we have to take it by force? Remember the wise words of President John F. Kennedy who once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”.

There is no doubt that corruption of the US government by corporations and wealthy individuals is at the root of the problem. There are many proposals to do something about it, but the one with legs is the movement to pass a constitutional amendment to effectively reform campaign finance and abolish corporate person-hood. When America has the discussion about why we need such an amendment and what form it should take, we will be ready to elect representatives who are willing to cosponsor and vote for it. It is not hard to see that the mood of the country is shifting away from helpless acceptance of the theft of what they have assumed is our democracy. Surely a politician as brilliant as Obama can see it. That raises the interesting question. Is it possible that he knows that we will not "be the change" he told us we have to be in 2008 unless things get so bad that we finally have no choice but to act? Is that why he seems to be doing nothing to counter the trend toward fascism in America? We can always hope that those we have accused of blind faith might have been right in claiming that Obama is playing three-dimensional chess with a bunch of checker players. Only time will tell, and only if the movement to take back America for the People continues to grow. For more info visit and

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