The Syrian pretext

The reactionary terrorist gangs trying to overturn the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad are near collapse after a military defeat in the town of Qusair on the Lebanese border. Leading U.S. militarists — the most prominent being Sen. John McCain — are attacking President Barack Obama for allowing this collapse. The result: The Obama administration, without evidence, claims Assad used chemical weapons. This pretext is his excuse to justify providing small arms and ammunition to those he calls the “rebels.”

What we mean by “pretext” is that the Obama administration has lied to the world and to the U.S. public in order to give a progressive cover for an aggressive and dangerous policy. It is enough to note that the United Nations official, the pro-NATO Carla Del Ponte, said more than a month ago that it was the “rebels” that used chemical weapons in Syria.

It is not the first such pretext for U.S. imperialist aggression. There were others: In 2011, that Moammar Gadhafi would massacre the population of Benghazi; in 2003, that Saddam Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction”; in 1999, that Serbian troops were committing genocide in Kosovo province; in 1983, that Grenadian troops were going to murder U.S. medical students; in 1964, that North Vietnamese PT boats attacked U.S. destroyers.

In each such event, Washington lied, the corporate media repeated it ad nauseam, and Big Lies allowed the president and the Pentagon to rally the ruling class, the Congress and sometimes parts of the population behind an illegal, aggressive and costly war. These wars always resulted in the population being bombed and invaded. They often cost the lives of U.S youth in the military.

In the current scenario, the Obama administration may appear reluctant to plunge into a war over Syria. This could, after all, be a costly war for the U.S. It would rely on forces ideologically close to al-Qaida, and it might lead to a clash with Iran or even Russia. As a representative of U.S. imperialist interests, the administration might consider these interests best served by caution.

Even if this is true, however, it is no reason to believe that the U.S. intervention will stop with the latest arms delivery. Sen. McCain, the Washington Post and other U.S. militarists are already pressuring for a “no-fly zone” and similar escalations. As we found out in Afghanistan in 2009 and in Libya in 2011, the Obama administration easily submits to demands for military escalation. Obama has already opened the door to war with his “red line” remark about chemical weapons and his comment more than a year ago that Assad must go.

That the “rebels” are really reactionary terrorists, they showed after their defeat in Qusair. In revenge, they massacred about 60 unarmed Syrians in the village of Hatlah near Deir Ezzur simply because these people were members of the Shiite variety of Islam.

Washington is already sending weapons to these gangsters. It may do more. Those here wanting to prevent this imperialist escalation must be ready to go out into the streets to mobilize and inspire a real resistance to the next stage of U.S. imperialist aggression.