Obama’s Syria Strategy Has Been a ‘Catastrophe’ and the US Media Has Been Obscuring US Responsibility for Kunduz Killings

October 6th, 2015 - by admin

Ron Paul / The Ron Paul Institute & Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept – 2015-10-06 01:08:31


I Wish Nobody Was Bombing Syria
Ron Paul / The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity

(October 06, 2015) — The US regime change policy for Syria has been a catastrophe. More than 200,000 killed and an entire country reduced to rubble at least partly because President Obama decided that “Assad has lost his legitimacy.”

How is it that the president of a country 6,000 miles away has the authority to decide whether another leader belongs in office or not? What if Rouhani in Iran decided that Obama had lost his legitimacy for killing a number of American citizens by drone without charge or trial? Would we accept that?

At least three years of US efforts to train rebels to overthrow the Syrian government has produced, as General Lloyd Austin, Commander of US Central Command, testified last month, “four or five” trained and vetted “moderates” in Syria. The $500 million appropriated for this purpose has disappeared.

The neocon solution to this failure to overthrow Assad and “degrade and destroy” ISIS is to increase the bombing and lead a ground invasion of Syria. The confusing policy of fighting Assad and also fighting his enemies does not seem to bother the neocons. They want us to forget all about their recent failures in Libya and Iraq and to try the same failed strategy one more time.

But something dramatic happened last week. Russian president Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the United Nations criticizing the US policy of partnering with one set of extremists — al-Qaeda and its allies — to attack both ISIS and Assad. “Do you realize now what you have done?” asked Putin.

Shortly after Putin’s UN speech, he requested and was granted authority from the Russian parliament to use force in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s request for assistance against the rebels. Russian fighters and bombers began flying sorties over Syria almost immediately. In less than a week of Russian bombing, considerable damage appears to have been done to both ISIS and to al-Qaeda affiliates — some of which are considered allies by the US and were actually trained by the CIA.

It may be tempting to cheer Russian military action in Syria, as it seems ISIS is finally suffering some considerable losses. Press reports suggest large numbers of desertions in their ranks after the Russian attacks. All of a sudden what looked to be an inevitable ISIS takeover of Syria once Assad was overthrown, seems far less likely with the Russians on the scene.

But I cannot cheer the bombs, whether they are Russian bombs or US bombs or French or British bombs. I do not believe a terrorist group created by foreign intervention in the region will be solved by more foreign intervention in the region. Bombs represent a total failure of policy. They destroy a country’s economy and infrastructure.

I wish the American people would finally demand that their government end its destructive policy of trying to change any regime that does not bow to Washington’s demands.

I wish Congress respected our Constitution enough to demand that the president seek a declaration of war before attacking a foreign country.

I wish President Bush and his neocon advisors had never decided to overthrow the Syrian government.

I wish President Obama had fired the neocons who led him from one foolish intervention to another. I wish the CIA had not trained rebels to fight alongside al-Qaeda in Syria. I wish we would reject the shrill cries of the warmongers.

I wish the US media was more than just a propaganda arm of the US government.

I am not thrilled that Russia is bombing Syria. I wish nobody was bombing Syria.

CNN and the NYT Are Deliberately Obscuring Who Perpetrated the Afghan Hospital Attack
Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept

(October 5, 2015) — Much of the world spent the last 48 hours expressing revulsion at the US airstrike on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. It was quite clear early on that the perpetrator of the attack was the US, and many media outlets and other organizations around the world have been stating this without any difficulties.

“US Airstrike Kills 19 at Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan,” states the straightforward Wall Street Journal headline, under which appears this equally clear lede: “A US airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 19 people at a hospital run by international medical-aid organization Doctors Without Borders early Saturday, prompting condemnation from humanitarian groups and the United Nations.”

Human Rights Watch chose this as its headline: “US Airstrike Hits Kunduz Hospital.” And so on. Even the media outlets that early on took a more cautious approach nonetheless prominently identified right from the start — in their headline and/or lede — the key fact: namely, who was the likely perpetrator.

This Vice headline states: “19 Dead After Apparent US Airstrike Hits MSF Hospital in Afghanistan”; USA Today’s headline read: “19 killed after Afghan hospital hit in suspected US airstrike”; while NPR in its first sentence definitively stated that the hospital was hit by “an aerial attack carried out by US forces.

But not CNN and the New York Times. For the last 36 hours, and up through this moment, this is the extraordinary opening paragraph in the featured article on the attack from the cable news network:

We’re bravely here to report that these two incidents perhaps coincidentally occurred at “about” the same time: There was a hospital that blew up, and then there was this other event where the US carried out an airstrike. As the blogger Billmon wrote: “London 1940: Civilians throughout the city were killed at about the same time as a German air strike, CNN reports.”

The entire article is designed to obfuscate who carried out this atrocity. The headline states: “Air attacks kill at least 19 at Afghanistan hospital; US investigating.” What’s the US role in this incident? They’re the investigators: like Sherlock Holmes after an unsolved crime.

The article itself repeatedly suggests the same: “The United States said it was investigating what struck the hospital during the night.” It’s a fascinating whodunit and the US is determined to get to the bottom of it. Offering a tantalizing clue, CNN notes that “the circumstances weren’t immediately clear, but the US military was conducting an airstrike in Kunduz at the time the hospital was hit, US Army Col. Brian Tibus said.” So the US commits a repugnant atrocity that, at the very best, was reckless, and CNN can’t bring itself to state clearly who did it.

In its own special way, the New York Times has been even more craven. Its original article on the attack opted for this bizarrely agent-less formulation:

Even as of this morning, more than 48 hours later, the NYT continues to obscure who perpetrated this attack. In a long article about the effects on the region’s residents from the destruction of their only hospital capable of advanced care, one reads and reads some more without any mention of who actually did this: