Syria – remember Guernica and Iraq

The world knows that it has been lied to in the past in attempts to justify Western military aggression. Political leaders should show some decency and refuse to be party to actions that can only lead to further suffering, chaos and instability.

No one yet knows who was responsible for the horrific chemical attack in Syria, yet our political leaders and politicians have already found the Syrian government guilty. Missile strikes by Western nations on an already terrorised population will only add to the misery, will solve nothing and, without irrefutable evidence, would be irresponsible. Add to that the Western willingness to strike without UN Security Council support and you have the makings of yet another war crime. News media reports have made it clear that the ‘rebels’ are losing the battle to control Syria and anti-government forces have been appealing for Western intervention for some time. Had the Syrian regime anything to hide, would it have been keen to welcome the physicians of Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders or MSF), who were the first outsiders to arrive at the scene of the chemical weapons attack? Dr Bart Janssens, the MSF director of operations, in a statement said that when his team arrived medical staff had provided detailed information on the symptoms patients were exhibiting. Local officials told MSF that the capital’s suburbs were attacked by rebels with chemical weapons. The rebels, in their turn, blamed the attack on the Syrian Army. However, the MSF was not able to scientifically confirm the cause of the symptoms. We also have UN chemical weapons inspectors on site in Syria who have not finished their investigations – missile strikes by Western forces now are hardly likely to help in the gathering of evidence.

Terrorism

The Syrian people want peace, not more bombs. They certainly don’t want to be ruled by ‘rebels’ who include mercenary jihadists and terrorists. According to the Washington Times[1],“The rebel movement on the ground in many parts of Syria is led by Islamic extremist groups hostile to the United States and they are holding at least 15 Westerners hostage, most of them journalists.” Also, according to Britain's Guardian[2] newspaper, Al-Qaida is a most serious terrorist threat in Syria; the newspaper referred to an intelligence and security committee report that warned of catastrophic consequences should militants get hold of chemical weapons.

When will we ever learn?

We should not so quickly forget the false evidence that led to the tragic Western bombardment and invasion of Iraq. Please remember that when US Secretary of State Colin Powell made his dissembling presentation of the American case for war against Iraq in 2003, United Nations officials covered up a tapestry reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s anti-war mural “Guernica”. Today Iraq is in ruins and its economy shattered, the Iraqi death toll due to Western military intervention, conservatively estimated by the medical journal The Lancet[3] at around 600,000. Yet it was the US, the leader of the coalition that invaded Iraq, that had knowingly co-operated with its erstwhile ally in the use of poison gas[4] in attacks on Iranian defence forces. Bombing men, women and children (they are always among the victims of such actions) cannot possibly protect them.

The world knows that it has been lied to in the past in attempts to justify Western military aggression. It is time for our political leaders to show some decency and refuse to be party to actions that can only lead to further suffering, chaos and instability.
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Notes:
[1] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/aug/23/americans-tale-terror-has-lessons-syria-policy/#ixzz2dJBjP6WU
[2] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/10/al-qaida-syria-terrorist-threat
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran–Iraq_war#cite_note-galbraith-15

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