This is a gruesome photo. There’s no question about that & within a short while Facebook will cover it with one of its warning stickers. It’s the photo of a small child killed in a chlorine gas attack by Syrian or Russian bombs. This is the hellish reality 400,000 civilians in Eastern Ghouta are living through. This is the reality Assad & Russian propagandists & their deranged fellow travelers deny by claiming those being bombed are only terrorists & images like this are only Hollywood actors.
Using a bastardized version of socialist principles but Stalin’s politics & practices, former antiwar activists now aligned with fascists, Islamophobes, & anti-Semites posit the war in Syria as an anti-colonial struggle against US imperialism & claim Assad has a right to defend his national sovereignty by any means necessary including Russian bombers & paramilitary death squads. To defend Assad, they deny the Syrian uprising against Assad’s dictatorship ever happened. Jeff Mackler, a leader of this political cult, claims “peaceful protesters” & “drought-stricken farmers” (rather than a revolutionary movement) “inadvertently provided the US with a pretext for the now seven-year US-orchestrated regime-change imperialist war.” In his bag of quotations from whence he derives his rationalizations, did he find some one-liners that “any means necessary” includes carpet bombing civilians with missiles, barrel bombs, sarin & chlorine gas, & incendiary bombs? Or is he extemporizing his support for dictatorship & war by drawing from the cesspool of practices by Stalin or even Hitler?
Opposition to Assad is weakened considerably by those like Robin Yassin-Kassab who co-authored a masterful book on the Syrian Revolution titled “Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution & War” but who calls for “credible military deterrence” against Syria & Russia. Who would provide such deterrence? Which countries that could provide such deterrence aren’t already involved in the counterrevolution in one form or another, including by maintaining trade with Syria? Calling on the US or Saudi Arabia to become freedom fighters in Syria when they are fundamental to the counterrevolution in Syria & in Yemen amounts to political naiveté almost of a criminal nature. Not to mention that it hands Assad supporters a weapon to use against those opposing Assad. Sending in bombers against bombers is a prescription for Armageddon, not credible deterrence. You don’t need to be a military strategist to recognize that.
There are no short cuts to ending the slaughter in Syria but to stand steadfast, publicly, & massively against all foreign military intervention, including bombers, troops, special forces, paramilitary groups, mercenaries. That is the reality not just in Syria but in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya. It will be much easier to build a movement in defense of the Syrian people if we make no compromises on US militarism or make the colossal blunder of seeing the US Pentagon as a force for humanitarian interventions.
(Photo from White Helmets)