An Iraq War ‘Déjà Vu’ in Syria

There’s an ominous sense of déjà vu as the U.S. prepares to attack Syria: dubious WMD claims, intense pressure from self-interested lobbies, a compliant mass media, a disregard of popular opposition, even a rush to remove UN investigators. This repeat of Iraq-2003 indicts U.S. democratic institutions, says Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

If you ever doubted the erosion of popular democracy in the U.S., the next few weeks should set you straight. The simple fact is that the voting population is the main “constituency” of politicians only at election time. Right now it is reported that approximately 60 percent of that constituency does not want the U.S. to attack Syria.

However, it is not election time. In the post-election period, the politician’s real constituency becomes special interests, some of which are rich enough and influential enough to substitute their own parochial interests for the interests of the nation. There are a bunch of them which are now anxious for an attack on Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presents a dummy vial of anthrax on Feb. 5, 2003, during a speech to the UN Security Council outlining the American case that Iraq possessed forbidden stockpiles of WMD.

The media is presently rife with reports that the U.S. government, along with other countries like the UK and France, operating with the blessing of the so-called Arab League (which has become little more than a front operation for the Gulf Arabs), are going to militarily strike Syria in just a matter of days.

This will be done to supposedly punish Damascus for the alleged use of chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war. U.S. government officials keep saying they are sure the Assad government carried out this attack, but where are they getting their information? Well, that is rather shady.

Washington won’t really say, but one can guess at the most likely sources. These might well be: (1) the rebels fighting against the Damascus regime (a great source of disinformation), (2) Israeli and Saudi “intelligence” (the Israelis have supplied Washington with supposedly genuine communication intercepts “proving” the chemical attack was ordered by Damascus), and (3) “independent medical personnel” in the area who have allegedly blamed the Syrian government.

Like the rest of the U.S. government’s sources, these medical accusers have not been named, and as far as I can determine, the only reliable source of this kind, the organization Doctors without Borders (DWB), has said that they cannot pinpoint the source of the attack.

Even though all of these sources (with the exception of DWB) are prejudiced against the Assad regime and would not hesitate to censor, alter and outright fake evidence, Washington is “sure enough” of the Syrian government’s guilt to position naval vessels with cruise missiles off the coast of Syria. The capacity of those missiles to kill civilians is as great or greater than any weapon in the field in Syria.

If this all sounds familiar, it is because it is roughly the same scenario played out by the Bush administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. In that case, the “weapons of mass destruction” that President George W. Bush and his cronies told us about for months on end turned out to be products of the administration’s overwrought imagination. This is not the kind of precedent that builds confidence in the D.C. policy makers.

If this military intervention does take place (probably right after the UN weapons inspectors leave the country), it will confirm not only the strong influence of special interests (the usual suspect here is the Zionist lobby) but also the corruptive consequences of that influence on the entire foreign policy making process.

That Obama can be brought to repeat the fatal stupidities of Bush so soon shows that all reference to peace and security as a goal for the nation are gone and the groundwork for future 9/11s is being laid with stubborn disregard for past mistakes.

The average citizen is not going to know what is going on except through the mass media, and we know that most of these outlets will, de facto, follow a conventional government line. Journalistic investigation of policy formation, at least among the mass media, is in abeyance in this country.

For that insight you have to go to such Web sources as Consortiumnews, Truthout, Media With a Conscience and Counterpunch, among others, and only a tiny percentage of the population does so. So mass public opinion is readily manipulated and managed.

Is our situation in this regard as bad as some of the countries we scorn for having no free speech and no “independent” media? Maybe not. However, that is because our politicians and bureaucrats have found subtler, less blunt ways of filling our brains with propaganda.

Who knows? President Obama, like his predecessor, might be the biggest true believer of them all in this latest story involving “weapons of mass destruction.” In this case, someone apparently used them, but Washington probably doesn’t really know who, and, in the end, probably doesn’t care. 

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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11 comments on “An Iraq War ‘Déjà Vu’ in Syria

  1. Hillary on said:

    Cui bono ?
    As in Iraq and Libya “forces” controlling US policy seem to have made the necessary “persuasion” pitch with the backing of the MSM and more atrocious human suffering is on its way to the Middle East where conditions compare to what happened in Iraq.
    .
    The US Administration and the UK are spreading their Zionist war on Islam as in their PNAC – New American Century – plan of 1997 – which was previously drawn up for Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel.
    .
    Once again the “West” will bomb a people to save them. This is Iraq War II, all orchestrated by Zionist occupied Washington.
    Cui bono ?
    George Orwell must be turning in his grave.

    • Peter Loeb on said:

      On the day after this reply was penned, the House of Commons in “Westminister”
      —-the UK—rejected participation in a war in Syria. There will be
      no “US-UK” coparticipation.

  2. rosemerry on said:

    When will we ever learn? when will we ever learn?

  3. McOregon on said:

    ‘Déjà Vu’ all over again. Seems like we’ve been down this road before.

  4. Dennis on said:

    While reading two British “newspapers” earlier today I sat dumbfounded. Cameron is “concerned” that the videos on YouTube may “not” be enough evidence.

    Why is anyone concerned about the NSA and CIA spying when their source of “intelligence” are videos posted on YouTube? The mainstream media certainly do not want their “information” to get in the way of any facts. You are right on with the photo of Colin Powell. Show the world a tiny vile of water and off to war we go!

  5. Boiled Frog on said:

    Deja Vu all over again.

    Kerry’s declaration that Syria used chemical weapons sounded eerily like Colin Powell’s mendacity at the UN in 2003.

    That critics of the Obama party line are roundly condemned for “hating” Obama reminds me of the Dixie Chix backlash.

    Then we have whistle blowers who are exiled or imprisoned compares badly to the Valerie Plame debacle.

    Has the US become the latest global threat that future children will read of in their history books?

  6. TheAZCowBoy on said:

    Pity poor Colin Powell. The only decent man in the Whitehouse serving the ‘idiot savant.’ (Bush).

    He lived to fight another day but the road was filled with shame and disillusionment at having been used that way by the Bush/Cheney/Wolfowitz,Rice war criminals.

  7. Hetman on said:

    As usual the Professor is on the mark There is one thing that could be tweaked in the otherwise excellent piece, namely, the reference to “future 9-11s”. There is more than abundant evidence that 9-11 was itself a false-flag operation, just as this chemical weapons discharge in Syria evidently was. Those dots need to be connected.

  8. BoobForBab on said:

    The U.S. should apply the same standards to the other despotically, tyranically, fascistly, corporately controlled countries, namely, the bastard illegitimate monarchy Saudi Arabia (responsible for more terrorism than almost any other), and Bahrain for what it has done to its people and the doctors who treated them. But that is a little too complicated for the dim-witted, hypocritical bully the U.S. and the bully’s little pal Israel. Chemical weapons indeed! Human rights violations indeed! Do not forget Colon Powell’s little minstrel show in 2003.

    • TitForTat on said:

      Oh, well; I don’t suppose there was then, or is now, any other choice. It’s oil or nothing.