US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (of the “Connecticut for Lieberman” Party, in which the ordering of names conveys his boundless sense of personal entitlement) visited Turkey this week for a photo opp with officers of the “Free Syrian Army” and to grandstand for further US intervention in Syria’s year-long “civil” war.
I put the “civil” in scare quotes, because normally civil wars are mostly internal affairs. The Syrian “uprising” appears to have been both instigated and funded by Washington from the git-go, through front “non-governmental organizations” funded by the American neoconservative (and very governmental) “National Endowment for Democracy.”
While Bashar al-Assad’s “National Popular Front” regime — centered around the fascist Ba’ath Party, with some lapdog “opposition” parties permitted to participate as long as they don’t actually, um, oppose — is certainly a poster child for bad government (but I repeat myself!), there’s little reason to believe that the “uprising” enjoys strong popular support or that, if successful, it will eventuate in anything significantly better for the Syrian people.
McCain/Lieberman’s busking for US intervention isn’t about freedom, democracy or human rights. It’s about the external turf and internal stature spats over which the overgrown street gangs we call “governments” perpetually obsess.
Quoth Lieberman: “How many world leaders have to be deceived by Assad for us to realize that we cannot rely on his word, that he will only respond to power — the same kind of power that he is brutally using against his own people.”
In what significant respect is Assad different from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Bahrain’s Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Abdullahs of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Yemen’s Saleh, the Shah of Iran, or any other regional ruler whom the US supports (or supported until they fell)? Is power not the language they also speak?
For that matter, one might ask, how many people have to be deceived by Lieberman and his ilk to arrive at the same realization? Lieberman and McCain never met a war they didn’t like, at least so long as it was fought with other people’s money, with other people’s blood, and for the benefit of themselves and their cronies in government and among the corporati.
And don’t get me started on “the brutal use of power” against one’s own people. The United States imprisons a higher percentage of its populace than any country on earth. Its cities are occupied by sizable, growing and increasingly militarized police forces. Its airports are living caricatures of the old Soviet bloc’s security bureaucracy as portrayed in Cold War era American cinema.
McCain and Lieberman have been both prominent architects of the existing US police state and staunch advocates of its endless extension. Who the hell are they to criticize Assad’s Syria?
But this, of course, is what governments and politicians do. Their primary function is to loot the productive for the benefit of their own class — the political class — and the creation of, and escalation to conflict with, external enemies is indispensable to that project.
This week it’s Syria and Iran. Next week? Uganda or Cuba or the Korean Peninsula or Djibouti. Don’t worry, they’ll find someone, somewhere for you to fight. They always do. Of course, they’d rather not talk about how last week went in Somalia and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq (quite well for them, not so well for you), thank you very much.
Does Bashar al-Assad deserve to be overthrown? Certainly. But let’s let the Syrians worry about that for themselves instead of getting ourselves roped into doing it for them. Our job here in America is figuring out how to rid ourselves of his spiritual siblings, including McCain and Lieberman.Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst and Media Coordinator at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).