Is anyone truly surprised at the recent chemical-weapons attack in Syria? It seems to have been hovering in the wings all year, until, bang on cue, it finally makes an appearance. Its author will almost certainly be forever shrouded in mystery, but the least likely candidate for this is Assad himself: he has been winning the war with the rebels all summer, gradually reasserting his brutal authority on Syria. More insidiously, Syrian public opinion has been swinging in behind him and a resolution to resist covert international support and condemnation has been hardening. The most likely authors of the chemical weapons attack in Syria are one of the many ruthless splinter groups amongst the Syrian rebels, with the assistance of US Intelligence. It is Weapons of Mass Destruction with a cherry on the parfait. The memory of Iraq, where more than a million civilians were slaughtered -- each life lost with its own tale of lasting misery -- is forgotten. WMD and CWA (Chemical Weapons Attack) are typical of the ruses that precede every war: they are the necessary fig leaf to justify mass murder: even Hitler needed a pile of dead Germans on the Polish frontier to justify the invasion of Poland in 1939.
The US and its allies have laid waste to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, bombing their beautiful ancient cities back to the Stone Age. Now they are utterly determined to visit the same misery upon Syria and then, of course, Iran. It seems that no one can stop them. Those who oppose them are "terrorists", those who reveal their crimes are given draconian jail sentences, or hounded into exile in Russia or forced to seek sanctuary in one of the few non-compliant embassies in the world. Manning, Snowden, and Assange are not heroes, but they are paying a high price for telling the truth -- but in a world where lies are the foundation of policy, the truth is a dangerous thing. Who can doubt that after Syria has been scorched to its roots, John Kerry, Obama, Holder, or some other grey-suited scoundrel will announce, with the straightest of faces, that they have obtained 'incontrovertible proof' that Iran is building a nuclear bomb?
Does anyone care that a new chapter of catastrophe is about to unfold in the Middle East? That the US is about to use its own WMD, its notorious uranium-depleted shells of more lethal and lasting damage than anything Assad or any of the rebels may possess? That in Fallujah where these shells have been extensively used doctors speak of cancer being "more common than flu"? That the most appalling deformities amongst new-born babies are being daily recorded in such places? A few people -- but today most people in the West will go about their business as normal. Somewhere in Syria a man, a woman, or a child, will be doing something similar, oblivious that mass murder is quietly being planned in the most respectable places by the most respectable people in the name of democracy.