Non-French War Deaths Matter & The Top 10 Terrorist List
November 17, 2015
David Swanson / Information Clearing House & Pepe Escobar / Asia Times
Commentary: We are all France. Apparently. Though we are never all Lebanon or Syria or Iraq for some reason. Or a long, long list of additional places. We are led to believe that US wars are not tolerated and cheered because of the color or culture of the people being bombed and occupied. But let a relatively tiny number of people be murdered in a white, Christian, Western-European land, with a pro-war government, and suddenly sympathy is the order of the day.
Non-French War Deaths Matter
David Swanson / Information Clearing House
(November 15, 2015) -- We are all France. Apparently. Though we are never all Lebanon or Syria or Iraq for some reason. Or a long, long list of additional places.
We are led to believe that US wars are not tolerated and cheered because of the color or culture of the people being bombed and occupied. But let a relatively tiny number of people be murdered in a white, Christian, Western-European land, with a pro-war government, and suddenly sympathy is the order of the day.
"This is not just an attack on the French people, it is an attack on human decency and all things that we hold dear," says US Senator Lindsey Graham. I'm not sure I hold ALL the same things dear as the senator, but for the most part I think he's exactly right and that sympathy damn well ought to be the order of the day following a horrific mass killing in France.
I just think the same should apply to everywhere else on earth as well. The majority of deaths in all recent wars are civilian. The majority of civilians are not hard to sympathize with once superficial barriers are overcome. Yet, the US media never seems to declare deaths in Yemen or Pakistan or Palestine to be attacks on our common humanity.
I included "pro-war government" as a qualification above, because I can recall a time, way back in 2003, when I was the one shouting "We are all France," and pro-war advocates in the United States were demonizing France for its refusal to support a looming and guaranteed to be catastrophic and counterproductive US war.
France sympathized with US deaths on 911, but counseled sanity, decency, and honesty in response. The US told France to go to hell and renamed french fries in Congressional office buildings.
Now, 14 years into a global war on terror that reliably produces more terror, France is an enthusiastic invader, plunderer, bomber, and propagator of hateful bigotry. France also sells billions of dollars of weaponry to lovely little bastions of equality and liberty like Saudi Arabia, carefully ignoring Saudis' funding of anti-Western terrorist groups.
When US militarism failed to prevent 911, I actually thought that would mean reduced militarism. When a Russian plane was recently blown up, I think I imagined for a split second that Russia would learn its lesson and stop repeating US mistakes.
When people were just killed in France, I didn't have any time to fantasize about France coming to its senses, because a "socialist" president was already doing his Dubya-on-the-rubble imitation:
"To all those who have seen these awful things," said François Hollande, "I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless. Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow."
The video doesn't look like Bush, and the French word combat does not necessarily mean war just because the Washington Post says it does. It can mean fight in some other sense. But what other sense exactly, I'm not sure. Prosecuting anyone responsible would, of course, make perfect sense, but a criminal justice system ought not to be pitiless. It's a war that ought to be pitiless. And it's a war that will guarantee more attacks. And it's a war that France has begun.
"It is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners," said Albert Camus.
Please go back to thinking, France.
We do love you and wish you well and are deeply sorry for US influence against your better tendencies.
David Swanson is an American activist, blogger and author. http://davidswanson.org
And Here's The Top 10 Terrorist List
Pepe Escobar / Asia Times
(November 15, 2015) -- They might as well have hauled David Letterman from retirement to do it.
Episode two of the Vienna Charade -- sorry, the Syrian peace talks -- this Saturday comes with a show biz package; all 20 players on the table are supposed to come up with a definitive Syria terrorist list. As in who gets a seat to talk about prospective Syria unity in the future, and who qualifies for being bombed.
This is inbuilt -- Chinese box-style -- in a truly surrealist ploy; a purported Syria peace plan that should include a ceasefire between Damascus and some "opposition groups." As if ISIS/ISIL/Daesh goon squads would respect any ceasefire.
So imagine the frenzy at that Viennese table. One man's jihadi is another man's "freedom fighter." Not to mention that according to the Beltway ethos, anyone subscribing to "Assad must go" is a "moderate rebel."
The usual suspects -- US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar -- have unsurprisingly pre-empted the move, fiercely defending their (moderate) Rebels With a Cause. These are the ones that would respect democratic elections in Syria; respect other religious groups; would be willing to negotiate with anybody; would respect a ceasefire, de-weaponize and abide by the political transition; and would never engage in global jihad. All of the above, of course, if you take them at face value.
Sultan Erdogan, "Moderate Rebel" Pin-up
Turkish Sultan Erdogan is the undisputed protector saint of "moderate rebels." So let's see how some outfits praised his recent electoral landslide.
What passes for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) sent congratulations. Same for Khaled Khoja, chairman of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
The Army of Conquest, which groups all sorts of goons, from hardcore jihadis to discreet Salafis, and is heavily weaponized via Saudi money said, "We are ardently awaiting the day of Assad's collapse and the building of brotherhood bridges between the people of Turkey and Syrians."
The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood -- totally supported by the ruling AKP, not to mention Qatar -- predictably praised the AKP and "the Turkish people."
All in all, around 15 opposition outfits hailed the Sultan. These will definitely not make the Top Ten terrorist list.
But Vienna, we got a problem. Many, if not the majority of these outfits, are striking "non-hostility pacts" with ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Daesh will lead the terrorist list. In fact it may be THE terrorist list itself; Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria, are regarded as "moderate rebels" by Washington. What gives?
Meanwhile, as reported by Lebanon's Al Mayadeen, US military advisors are already training "moderate rebels" near Salma, in Latakia province, very close to Russia's air base.
For his part Muhammad Bazarbashi, the leader of the Army of Damascus outfit (3,000 fighters north of Aleppo), told the Anatolian News Agency they are ready to help Ankara fight PKK/PYD Kurds in Syria. Compare it with the fact PKK/PYD are side-by-side with the Americans in the fight to liberate Sinjar in Iraq.
So expect NATO member Turkey to forcefully defend outfits such as these in Vienna -- even if they go against American interests.
Bets can be made that Sultan Erdogan, now on a full-fledged ego trip, won't admit his "strategy" in Syria is in tatters. Even the ultimately demented option -- the Turkish Army invading northern Syria -- is not out of the cards.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu -- who buried his own "zero problems with our neighbors" policy -- is now frantically spinning Turkey would join a hypothetical "coalition ground operation" targeting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, with Washington leading from behind.
Despair, or Read Shelley
Ankara is planning by itself to send no less than 10,700 soldiers to invade northern Syria 46 kilometers deep in mid-December to allegedly fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
The real target would not be ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, of course; but PKK/PYD Kurds. And ultimately, that would pit Turkey directly against the "4+1" (Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah).
Neglecting all setbacks so far, Erdogan has not given up on his pet "buffer zone" north of Aleppo. That would be Erdogan's "gift" to the EU: "solving" the refugee crisis via 17 security zones, 11 logistics bases and 6 refugee camps. Inside Syrian territory.
This is arguably Erdogan's piece de resistance at the G20 summit in Antalya starting this weekend. After unveiling the cake, he will pass the hat around the Big Table; after all he needs the cash to buy it. Russia, of course, reserves the right to smash the cake in the Sultan's face.
Selected sound minds in the Pentagon -- they do exist — must have been forced to admit that facing the recent advances of "4+1", Erdogan's dream is now a no-go.
Or not. Take this hallucinatory, straight from the Cheney regime-era spin that the US needs boots on the ground to "occupy" and even "govern" parts of Syria.
Vienna and Antalya may end up with a certified terrorist list of One (the fake "Caliphate") and a check for the invasion of northern Syria.
The rest of us may find consolation in Shelley's long-lost 1811 poem -- composed when he was a 18-year-old student at Oxford -- just acquired by the Bodleian Library, where he writes about "cold advisers of yet colder kings" and political leaders who lend "to each smooth rogue a courtier's smile."
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