[Marxism] "200" dead in Syria - but who were they?

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 3 15:55:18 MST 2012

Today's news from Syria "informs" (or misinforms, depending on what the
actual facts are) us that 200 "people" were killed in the Syrian city of
Homs by a government assault using tanks and machine guns. I've written
before about the "source" of this "information," which is basically an
organization based in London. But let's assume for the moment that this
information is completely true and ask a few more questions:

1) Who were these people? If you've been watching the same news as I have
for the past few days, you've seen pictures of the rebels armed with all
sorts of weapons including RPGs. Were these 200 people armed rebels, or
"unarmed innocent civilians"? The article wants us to believe the latter,
since there is no hint whatsoever in the article that an armed rebellion in
progress. Every reference in the article is simply to "people" who were
killed. Far more likely, however, is that is was mostly, or perhaps
exclusively, armed rebels who were killed. Now I am completely in support of
the right to armed rebellion. However, people who take up arms can expect to
be met with force, and whatever reason there is to condemn the government
against which they are taking up arms, the fact that that government
responded with force can hardly be a reason for additional condemnation.

2) Were there any government forces killed? If a battle of this magnitude
took place, chances are high that they did. However, since AP's only source
for this story is the anti-government opposition, and since that opposition
has every reason to portray the deaths as a one-sided affair, it's not
surprising that no such deaths are reported. The opposition does
periodically make claims (backed up by the Syrian government) that
government forces were killed, although in almost all cases when that
happens, it is a separate event, not connected with the deaths of opposition
forces. Again, this is a consequence of the source. On the one hand, the
opposition wants to make itself look successful, so as to inspire more
support from the Syrian people. Hence the stories about killed government
troops. On the other hand, they want to make the government look as barbaric
as possible, hence the absence of any mention of the deaths of government
troops on the days when they want to emphasize their own losses.

3) Did AP make any effort to obtain any sort of comment whatsoever, even a
"no comment," from the Syrian government? We know from vast experience that
if it were the U.S. government being accused of killing people, AP (or any
other corporate media outlet) wouldn't consider running the story until and
unless they could obtain some comment from the U.S. government, no matter
how unbelievable ("the incident is being investigated," "all the dead were
terrorists," etc.).

As with Iran, the drumbeat for war continues, with politicians and the media
working hand and hand to prepare the American public.

Eli Stephens
 Left I on the News

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