[Marxism] Military Humanitarian Intervention: the Shock Doctrine Applied to Syria

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Sat Feb 15 21:18:28 MST 2014

On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM, Allen Ruff <alruff at tds.net> wrote:

> So do we dismiss the critique of Postel & Hashemi entirely, Saturday
> 1:30pm-5:30pm

I'm not. I'm having lots of fun with it. These are my first comments:

He starts with an assumption that is by no means proven no matter how many
times it is repeated, "only viable path open to resolving the Syrian
conflict lies in a negotiated settlement between the Assad government and
the legitimate opposition." One could have just as well said that about
dealing with Hitler and ending WW2. In fact many Hitler supporters made
exactly that argument as soon as it became clear the Nazi were going to win

Rob Prince may believe a negotiated settlement is the only way forward but
clearly Bashar al-Assad doesn't. He could have opened negotiation when the
peaceful protests first started. Instead, he choose to respond with
violence, time and time again, until those who were demanding change were
forced to go over to armed struggle. Assad has never negotiated in good
faith, witness the lack of progress on getting rid of his CW. Then there is
the question of who Rob Prince considers the "legitimate opposition," or
did he intend to leave that decision to Assad? Presumably he believes the
Assad regime is the legitimate government of Syria or at least that Bashar
al-Assad, a mass murderer of ten thousand Syrian children, a legitimate
partner for a peaceful settlement. Does he really think the bloodshed will
stop as long as Assad is in power?

More, later...

The Assad government is responsible for virtually all of the violence.
Certainly it is responsible for turning peaceful mass protests into an
armed conflict. In three years it is responsible for every bomb cropped
from aircraft, every shell or shot fired from an aircraft, the dropping of
sarin from a helicopter in one case and the uses of poison gas fired from
rockets on more than a dozen occasions. Its completely responsible for the
uncounted thousands it has starved and tortured to death in its prisons.
Its responsible for all the Scuds fired and the vast majority of all the
other rockets and shell fired that taken so many Syrians in the past three

One could also make an argument that Assad is responsible for the deaths
caused by his looted arsenals, which is the main way his opposition has
armed themselves, because his government had the responsibility to see that
they properly secured, which they could have easily done had they not been
so busy killing Syrians. I prefer the argument that the attacking party,
the party engaged in criminal conduct, the one who set out on the murderous
rampage is responsible not only for the deaths it caused directly, but also
the lives taken by those practising self-defense and even "innocent
bystanders" killed by either side.

I blame the Nazis not only all the deaths their soldiers caused but also
for the lives of those young Germans they turned into cannon fodder. I
blame US imperialism not only for the millions of Vietnamese killed but
also the 58,000 Americans it drafted to do its dirty work, and I apply the
same standards to the Assad government, so hold it responsible for 100% of
the deaths caused by his war to stay in power, even it that power rests
upon elections in which he got 97% and 97.6% of the vote! If you believe
those were free & fair elections, I've got a deal on a bridge for you. You
can make so much money..call me.

Finally there is this: Accidentally, civilians have been killed by all
parties to this conflict, such is the nature of war, but Assad is the only
party to this conflict that actively targets civilians. He bombs
neighbourhoods, hospitals and schools. He shells breadlines. His bottom
line strategy is the make the price of overthrowing him, in terms of Syrian
lives, unbearably high.

More, later...

"Salafist Islamic militants (trained and funded by the Saudis, Qatar,
Turkey, and ultimately supported and manipulated by Washington)" All of
that is a stretch, based largely on conjecture. While it can't be denied
that what could be called Salafist Islamic militants have received some
funds from individuals and organizations based in Saudis, Qatar, Turkey and
dozens of other countries, that tiny bit of truth doesn't spin-out to a
grand conspiracy run from Washington. I fear your US chauvinism is showing.
The truth is the US is really at a lost for a workable, even from its pov,
strategy to deal with events that are almost completely out of its control.

If by "Salafist Islamic militants" you mean the ISIS and al Nusra, then why
leave the Assad government's payments to them, in the millions of dollars,
for oil, or the fact that he let a thousand Salafist Islamic militants out
of prison at the start of the revolution, and many of these are now even in
the leadership of ISIS and al Nusra, or the Syrian special service agents
that have been identified as "emirs" in the ISIS, or Assad's bragging that
he had agents inside the opposition? Are those connections and many more
[See Man behind the Curtain for al-Qaeda in Syria is
details.] problematic for your narrative?

Finally, how can you blame those countries for having "internationalized
the struggle" when you don't mention Russia, Iran, Iraq and Hezbullah, all
of which have soldiers fighting in Syria and are militarily supporting
Assad's bid to stay in power no matter how many Syrian lives it costs?

More, later...

Calling for military intervention as a way to end or at least reduce the
bloodshed in Syria does pull at certain ethical heartstrings.

A less colorful way to say that is coming to the defense of civilians being
bombed is the right thing to do.

I'm sorry to see you seem to revel in the idea that it is *"a desperate
appeal."* Why? Because you think that there is no chance the world will
intervene even if Assad kills a million? 236 people are being killed every
day now in this conflagration and you refuse any meaningful intervention to
stop it now in the name of *"humane long-term geopolitical

You ask:

Are they forgetting Washington's long record of supporting totalitarian
regimes in exchange for oil in the Middle East and elsewhere, and whose
involvement in the Syrian tragedy is, incidentally, far from innocent?

Assad's opposition certainly aren't forgetting, and those that have been
disillusioned as to any US claim to fight for justice and so on have been
given a hard lesson because they have been seeing Obama's betrayal of his
claim of support for their democratic struggle and his real support for
Assad's totalitarian regime develop over the last three years. But I think
you are right about this: No matter how many times the US imperialists may
claim humanitarian excuses for intervention, doesn't mean they will
intervene when humanity really does call for it. I'm just sorry to see you
revel in it.

Naive and self-centered Americans may think Obama was really for *"regime
change"* in Syria, but few Syrians, on either side of the fight, harbor
such illusions themselves, even if one side finds it makes for useful
propaganda. See: Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar

More, later...

Clay Claiborne, Director
Vietnam: American Holocaust <http://VietnamAmericanHolocaust.com>
Linux Beach Productions
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 581-1536

Read my blogs at the Linux Beach <http://claysbeach.blogspot.com/>

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