Aug. 31 — Barack Obama’s speech today, delivered from the White House Rose Garden, was aimed at winning the acquiescence of the war-weary and austerity-clobbered people in the United States for an illegal, aggressive and highly dangerous assault on the sovereign nation of Syria.
Obama may not be George W. Bush, but he occupies the U.S. presidency. And that puts him in the position of serving not the people who actually voted for him, but the powerful capitalist corporations and banks that dominate the two-party system. Especially when it comes to foreign policy, the president has always acted as the CEO of world imperialism.
He also must be the main public relations voice for whatever war of aggression the bankers, billionaires and generals have planned.
The vote in the British Parliament against participating in such an assault showed Obama the danger to his political leadership if he pursues this wild military offensive without at least the semblance of public backing.
That vote left the U.S. without its most reliable ally: the British regime that represents the bankers, investors and property owners of The City, London’s Wall Street. At this point, the only other imperialist power backing the assault is France — the former colonial ruler over Syria.
Getting Congress to go along
Obama has thrown at least part of the responsibility for this unpopular move onto the U.S. Congress, which, according to the Constitution, is the only body with the power to declare war. While still maintaining he has the “right” to unilaterally order a military strike, he is calling the bluff of his critics in Congress by putting off the fateful hour until they come back in session and can vote to support military action.
Obama may not be Bush, but like Bush he is depending on a Big Lie as the pretext for the war, charging that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the “rebels.” Flash back to when Bush invaded Iraq, after accusing the Iraqi government of harboring “weapons of mass destruction.” After U.S. missiles had brought mass destruction to large sections of Baghdad and its infrastructure, no WMDs were found.
In his talk, Obama invented numbers for the people and children killed in Syria supposedly from poison gas, but he gave no hard evidence regarding what weapons were used or, especially, who was responsible for using them.
The “poison gas” pretext for intervention has been part of Pentagon planning for more than a year. Obama drew a “red line in the sand” in the summer of 2012, announcing in advance that the U.S. would directly enter the war if Syria used gas.
Why would the Syrian government, which has been winning battle after battle against an armed opposition without poison gas, use it on civilians, knowing that would bring an attack from the Pentagon? And why would they do it right when a U.N. inspection team had been invited into the country to investigate the use of poison gas? The Russian government points out that such a scenario is absurd.
Obama is not Bush, but in the same way that Bush did in 2003 before invading Iraq, Obama intends to use the days before Congress reconvenes to drum up war propaganda.
Meanwhile, five destroyers, each capable of launching dozens of cruise missiles, are in the eastern Mediterranean, ready to bring death and destruction to the Syrian people in the name of protecting them. Such an attack opens the prospect of an extensive and expensive regional war, leading to a possible confrontation with Iran and even Russia.
The imperialist politicians are preparing to spend billions on this, while U.S. cities go bankrupt and the people here grow more impoverished.
Those in the United States opposing the war must use this time to counter Obama’s arguments, to continue to build demonstrations and protests, to turn the “day after” bombing actions to demonstrations on the “days before” Congress meets. Every public or political event, from the New York City primaries to the AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles, should be turned into an anti-war forum.
Obama is not Bush, but the war being planned against Syria is just as criminal. Stop the attack on Syria!