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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/27/14

The Fun of Empire: Fighting on All Sides of a War in Syria

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Cross-posted from The Intercept

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
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(updated below)

CBS News, August 18, 2011:

"President Barack Obama officially demanded that Syrian President Bashar Assad resign for the sake of his own people, saying he was no longer fit to lead after 'imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people' during a crackdown on pro-reform protesters."

New York Times, October 24, 2012:

"Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats."

Barack Obama, August 31, 2013:

"Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. . . . [W]e are the United States of America, and we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus."

New York Times, today:

"President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a precursor to potential airstrikes there, but a mounting concern for the White House is how to target the Sunni extremists without helping President Bashar al-Assad. . . . The flights are a significant step toward direct American military action in Syria, an intervention that could alter the battlefield in the nation's three-year civil war. . . .

"On Monday, Syria warned the White House that it needed to coordinate airstrikes against ISIS or it would view them as a breach of its sovereignty and an 'act of aggression.' But it signaled its readiness to work with the United States in a coordinated campaign against the militants."

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It was not even a year ago when we were bombarded with messaging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a Supreme Evil and Grave Threat, and that military action against his regime was both a moral and strategic imperative. The standard cast of "liberal interventionists" -- Tony Blair, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Nicholas Kristof and Samantha Power -- issued stirring sermons on the duties of war against Assad.

Secretary of State John Kerry actually compared Assad to (guess who?) Hitler, instructing the nation that "this is our Munich moment." Striking Assad, he argued, "is a matter of national security. It's a matter of the credibility of the United States of America. It's a matter of upholding the interests of our allies and friends in the region."

U.S. military action against the Assad regime was thwarted only by overwhelming American public opinion which opposed it and by a resounding rejection by the UK Parliament of Prime Minister David Cameron's desire to assume the usual subservient British role in support of American wars.

Now the Obama administration and American political class is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the failed "Bomb Assad!" campaign by starting a new campaign to bomb those fighting against Assad -- the very same side the U.S. has been arming over the last two years.

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Glenn Greenwald is one of three co-founding editors of The Intercept. He is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, No Place (more...)
 

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