Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A policy of benefits and doubts

The drums of war are beating louder and louder each day and the credibility of those calling for more death and destruction, on all sides, quietly dwindles. Large and (what I can imagine) expensive P.R. war propaganda campaigns are being waged by everyone, the fog of war over Syria and Iran is very dense but you can surely bet the two are related.

In today's political discourse the name Hitler or mentions of the Nazi's and their agenda of racial extermination still brings strong associations and feelings. Many wars have happened, and yet most are just a blip or simply considered an event to be acknowledged. However, the Nazi's - will go down in history as the defacto standard of racist extremism and crimes against humanity. We revere these names, in fact politically or journalistically, it is risky to even mention them without a sound argument or point to make. I'm sure that this paragraph has probably turned off some readers, just because I have mentioned them. There is a stigma attached to those terms, a stigma the Germans live with to this day.

Who could have known back in that era that Hitler and that war would dominate conversations for decades to come? When I sit back and look at current foreign policy, as a Canadian who is aware of our role in foreign conflicts (albeit, what I am aware of is probably only the tip of the iceberg) I have to wonder if, in 60 years 'NATO' will be remembered just the same?

You're probably thinking in response, well that's silly, we're NATO. We have nothing even close to what the Germans did. But don't we? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we are Nazis, the modern wars going on are founded on different principles, different morals, etc. Much is different, but the tactics and the moral authority, the excuses and feelings of justification, these have some similarities.

Credibility has been the underlying theme of the latest blog posts - because the credibility of everything that comprises the NATO foundation is wearing thin. Today, I read something I couldn't believe: in response to the credibility crisis generated by the summary execution story the Syrian rebels have "pledged" to... well...
"respect human rights in accordance with our legal principles, our tolerant religious principles and the international laws governing human rights,"
"I pledge not to practice any form of torture, rape, mutilation or degradation. I will observe prisoners' rights and will not exercise any of the above practices in order to abstain confessions," the rebel code said.
Seriously, you can't make this shit up. After video evidence arises showing actual war crimes, they're "pledging" not to rape or torture. Phew, thank god they're pledging, otherwise you can never be too sure, right?

So why are we not demanding a pledge from Assad? Surely this whole mess and the associated crimes could be avoided with a simple pledge, no? This new strategy should be applied everywhere, Iran? Well, Iran outta just pledge they don't intend on having nuclear weapons. The Nazi's should have just pledged they wouldn't do it again, and so on. If we have a "benefit of the doubt" military policy, why isn't it applied to all?

The policy really is more like "there's some with benefits, and some with doubts".

The latest rebuttal to U.S. support of the Syrian rebels was pretty amusing and also inspired the next generation of headline propaganda technology "non-lethal support". Not "aid", "non-lethal" - which through stories of association about aid and non-lethal support have pulled a veil over everything non-lethal can mean. Tear gas? that's non-lethal. I'm not saying tear gas is being delivered, but what I am saying is that non-lethal can imply a lot more than aid.
"We have helped them with communications and matters of that kind, and we will help them more."
Let's go back to the report which the White House denies.
Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence finding broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust President Bashar al-Assad.
Isn't that fancy? You see, NATO countries are both simultaneously denying and admitting these reports, plus announcing more "non-lethal support" while at the same time denying we are involved in helping overthrow Assad at all and maintaining this is a civil war.

Iran's recent "Axis of Resistance" comment in regards to Syria as an ally shows that for them, this is now war. Iran clearly sees the west's intent regarding Syria as a road to Iran, Iran has already witnessed a close ally defeated. China, and Russia - with their repeated U.N. vetos - have shown they will not be fooled twice after being caught off guard by the Libyan operation. Iran has also shown intense interest in Pakistan lately, as they have been cooling off towards U.S. relations due to drone strikes.

The amount of propaganda surrounding Syria is immense, far beyond that of Libya - which itself is still the subject of misinformed propaganda measures. First, look at the title of this article: 'Will Libya use oil for good?'. Isn't it interesting that we are asking this question now, after providing expensive military support to the 'rebels' (who were directly linked to Al-Qaeda - who we claim to be at war with) - of course, you all do remember the (now never mentioned) alternative, right? So we really applied a cherished modern democratic voting technic to the issue: choosing the better of two evils. Bombs away, perhaps it could have been prevented had "the pledge" been invented last year.

Understanding that we are under military war propaganda is important to having a firm sense of morality. Until the allies had defeated the Nazi's, and revealed the full extent of the concrentration network, nobody outside the German elite had a true sense how bad it was. How much about the goings on today do we not know? In 70 years, what words will be spoken about our great NATO alliance? About our policies of intervention? About the benefits we allot to some, and the doubts we put onto others? What will be said about us?

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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