How the U.S. Left is Failing Over Syria

Published on Worker’s Action, by Shamus Cooke, Sept 1, 2013.

It’s now painfully clear that Obama’s war on Syria is a replay of Bush’s march to war in Iraq, both built on lies. Zero evidence has been put forth that proves the Syrian government used chemical weapons. On the contrary, evidence has been recorded that suggests the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels are responsible for the attack.

If Obama wages an aggressive attack on Syria — especially without UN authorization — he’ll be committing a major international crime that will, by any standard, make him a war criminal, just like Bush before him.  

And because Obama’s attack on Syria followed Bush’s logic, you’d assume that liberal, progressive, and other Left groups would do what they did when Bush went to war: denounce it unconditionally and organize against it.

But that’s not what happened. Because this didn’t happen, less accurate information was made available to the public, and fewer public mobilizations have occurred, thus re-enforcing Obama’s ability to wage an aggressive war.

There are four pieces of information that all left groups have a duty to report about Syria, but they have either ignored or minimized them:

  • 1) Obama presented zero evidence to back up his main justification for war: that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians.
  • 2) A top UN investigator, Carla Del Ponte, blamed a previous chemical weapons attack on the U.S.-backed rebels.
  • 3) Any attack on Syria, no matter how “limited,” has a high risk of expanding into neighboring countries if Syria exercises its right as a sovereign nation to defend itself.
  • 4) A war against Syria will be a violation of international law, since it is not approved by the UN, and therefore will make President Obama a war criminal.

There has been a broad spectrum of leftist failure to address these issues and condemn Obama’s war, ranging from those who take an overtly pro-war position to those who use anti-war slogans that are stained with pro-war justifications. A consistent “Hands Off Syria” message was hard to find, indeed … //

… All of the above groups are also guilty of demonizing Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, buying in on the propaganda that he is worse than the Al Qaeda-linked rebels who are attacking him. This is a crucial element of justifying any aggressive war. Every head of state that is targeted by the U.S. government must be portrayed as an inspiring “Hitler,” since attacking a nation led by “Hitler” is, of course, a “good” thing to do.

And although opinion is certainly divided over Assad, those in the U.S. wishing to stop an aggressive war must focus on the actions of their own country.

“Hands Off Syria” is a united front demand, meaning that it’s intentionally aimed to create a broad based appeal in an effort to mobilize as many people as possible. No anti-war movement — or any social movement — is powerful without massive, ongoing mobilizations.

Within the united front demand of Hands Off Syria there is plenty of room for other tactics and room to discuss the deeper politics of the movement, but creating the largest possible mobilizations must be the base ingredient, and this can only be done under a demand that is capable of bringing together broad sections of the U.S. public.

The question of war sadly remains the greatest immediate threat the world faces, especially in light of an increasingly conflict-ridden and dangerous Middle East. The United States government is hell-bent on reckless wars that are increasingly likely to spiral out of control as they bring abject misery to the affected populations around the world while funneling money for badly needed social programs here in the U.S. into campaigns of death and destruction. Unequivocally denouncing U.S. foreign aggression is the duty of all working people who value peace, hate war, and aspire to create a better world.

Hands Off Syria! Bring the Troops Home NOW!
(full text).

Links about Syria:

Syria strike set to hijack G20 agenda, on Al Jazeera, Sept 5, 2013: World leaders will meet in St Petersburg amid sharp differences over possible US military action against Damascus;

Syria ‘chemical weapons’ crisis: LIVE UPDATES, on RT, Sept 5, 2013;

Russia warns of nuclear disaster if Syria is hit, on RT, Sept 5, 2013;

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin set for collision over Syria at G20 summit, on The Guardian, by Patrick Wintour and Dan Roberts in Washington, Sept 4, 2013: Russian president signals he will take action if America strikes at Assad as US counterpart admits relations have hit a wall;

Senate Foreign Relations Committee FRC approves plan to strike Syria, on RT, Sept 4, 2013 (my comment: FRC is one of the groups heavily submitted to the real rainmakers);

Pro-Israel lobby backs US strikes on Syria, on Al Jazeera, Sept 5, 2013: AIPAC and some influential Republicans join forces to push Barack Obama for hawkish action on Syria;

Live Blog Syria, on Al Jazeera;

forgotten how Govs have to be run? on Humanitarian blog, August 12, 2011;

Photo Gallery on Spiegel online International: Two Million Flee Syria (from the article Chemical Evidence: German Lab to Analyze Samples from Syria, September 05, 2013 – Samples the UN team collected in Syria were sent to laboratories around Europe to check them for traces of poison gas).

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