Of Animals and Monsters and Missiles over Damascus

It seems to be very difficult to be the leader of a state, particularly a strong and/or ideologically driven leader, and not end up a “monster,” muses Lawrence Davidson. 

By Lawrence Davidson

President Donald Trump ordered the bombing of selective targets in the Syrian capital, Damascus last Friday night. He did so because he was emotionally upset by Syrian President Bashar al- Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Douma – the last rebel (ISIS-style) stronghold adjacent to the capital. 

Just prior to Trump’s actualizing his emotions by throwing missiles into Damascus, he had expressed his opinion (and keep in mind that there is no difference between fact and opinion for Trump) that President Assad is a “monster” as well as an “animal.” This was at least in part because the Syrian President stooped to “killing his own people.” The problem with all this is (1) Trump has no hard evidence that Assad was behind the alleged gas attack and (2) killing your own people is, unfortunately, what civil wars are all about.

Alas, the world has always been, and still is, full of “monsters” and “animals.” And, since we are throwing around such epithets, we might as well give a couple of close-to-home examples of those qualifying behaviors.

How about the invasion of a nation along with the subsequent killing of at least half a million people, all based on “false and overstated intelligence”? That is what the “monster” and “animal” President George W. Bush did back in 2003 in Iraq.  

How about lining up a 100 “sharpshooters” at a border for  what seems to be the almost gleeful act of repeatedly shooting down unarmed protesters? That is what the “monster” and “animal” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been doing at Israel’s border with Gaza during the month of April 2018.

We can go on citing examples such as these – all about the “monsters” and “animals” in power in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and, at one time or other, just about every other nation. Donald Trump himself, with his racist tendencies and impulsive behavior, is also a very good candidate for wearing the epithets he assigns to others. 

A lesson learned from this endless list is that it seems to be very difficult to be the leader of a state, particularly a strong and/or ideologically driven leader, and not end up a “monster.” It is not only the power that rests in the leader’s hands, but also the corrupting organizational pressures and expectations to use that power that create the slippery slope to abuse. Even those who come to office with relatively decent reputations, such as in the case of the U.S., Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, end up with bloody hands. 

Minions

However, the problem does not end there. After all, the “monster” must have his or her minions. Albert Einstein once said that “the pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service.” More recently, the Israeli human rights organization B’ tselem has called on Israeli soldiers “to refuse orders to open fire on Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.” These public positions have made no a noticeable difference. The massive violence continues. 

Human violence might have something to do with our evolutionary history, but why should this inclination be so readily indulged? After all, just because we are evolutionarily inclined in a certain way doesn’t mean that we can’t exercise a modicum of self-control. And indeed, a good number of folks do go through life in a relatively non-violent fashion. Yet, put just about any of us in a rotten barrel and we turn bad. 

Part of the problem might be that our cultures and institutions infantilize too many of us. By this I mean that from infancy through old age we are taught to follow orders and go along with the group. As children we are taught to obey our parents, then our teachers. When, as teens we (at least in the West) begin to break away from parental control, we more often than not replace parental guidance with that of our peer group. Then, on to a career, where a new set of rules and expectations is imposed. Of course, there is sociological logic to all of this. We could have no societal structure and stability without a certain level of rules and obedience to them. However, there is a price. The price at the state level may be seen in terms of all too often unquestioning loyalty, patriotism and solidarity that leads the average citizen to simply follow the leader, and thereby participate in the violence the state has declared as necessary. 

Monsters” like George W. Bush, Benjamin Netanyahu and now Donald Trump do not actually pull the triggers. Someone else does on their orders – someone trained to obey. Actually “someone” is misleading. It is not one. It is millions. Military establishments are the most obvious environments where this follow the leader cum infantilization takes place. Put into a military organization, the citizen is back in that childhood environment where he or she is expected to just obey. There may be specified situations where one does not have to obey, but they are so rare and so strongly counterbalanced by peer pressure that they almost never come into play. Thus, in the military, all soldiers of whatever rank are infantilized relative to their superiors: told to shoot, they shoot; told to fire the missile, they fire it; told to drop the bomb, they drop it; and told to guide the weaponized drone onto a target half a world away (oops! It turns out to be a wedding party) they guide it. 

There is no ready solution to any of this. The number of people who will refuse military orders, as suggested by Einstein, or refuse to shoot protesters, as suggested by B’tselem, is much too few to stop the mayhem. Our proclivity to violence has been institutionalized and our fundamental societal need to maintain group cohesion has been perverted by the those who claim to be our leaders. It is something of a vicious circle – or maybe just an eternal Catch 22.

This article originally appeared on http://www.tothepointanalyses.com/

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. He blogs at www.tothepointanalyses.com.

image_pdfimage_print

61 comments for “Of Animals and Monsters and Missiles over Damascus

  1. Tiu
    April 22, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    The photo of the Saudis and Trump with hands on the glowing globe is explained in this following video. The concept of “singularity”, “AI” and “crypto currency” leading to one-world-government and one-world-currency is what this picture is all about. Do you want to be ruled by the monarchs of the Middle East and Europe? I don’t.
    Watch between approximately 17:35 and 28:45 (or watch the whole vid it’s slightly over half an hour long).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7nt5FynDw8&t=13s

  2. April 21, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    …the pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service.

    …says the creep who helped the US drop atom bombs on thousands of innocent civilians…*meh*

    Not a very good person to quote in an attempt to make a point about ‘minions’.

  3. Den Lille Abe
    April 21, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Never mind the article, the picture accompanying it gives me the creeps! It is right out of Mordor! For heavens sake look at it!
    Even Adolf Hitlers propaganda minister Joseph Goebbles would have vetoed such a picture to the press. The people in the picture look evil, but we KNOW they are evil.

    • Abe
      April 21, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      The Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis and its “allies” are under the sway of the palantir, seduced by its visions of glorious “victory”.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4qfx3ZMSB8

    • DDearborn
      April 22, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Hmmmm

      That picture, so aptly interpreted by you, begs the question: since it is a depiction of evil in Syria, why isn’t Benny NutenYahoo included front and center? After all, he continues to have a starring role in the proliferation of violence, death, destruction and evil throughout the region. NutenYahoo has ordered roughtly 200 strikes against Syria since taking office. All of those strikes were illegal under international law. One is therefore compelled to question the real motives behind this picture, given such an obvious omission……

  4. michael crockett
    April 21, 2018 at 3:39 am

    I see where Roger Waters has come out against the White Helmets. I am loving Pink Floyd all over again. To George Clooney and Ben Affleck shame on you.

    • Abe
      April 21, 2018 at 6:48 pm

      The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States (2016) examines pro-Israel Hasbara propaganda efforts within the U.S.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD7mOyfclIk

      This important documentary, narrated by Roger Waters, exposes how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel Lobby join forces to shape American media coverage in Israel’s favor.

      Documentary producer Sut Jhally is professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, and a leading scholar on advertising, public relations, and political propaganda. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Media Education Foundation, a documentary film company that looks at issues related to U.S. media and public attitudes.

      Jhally is the producer and director of dozens of documentaries about U.S. politics and media culture, including Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land: U.S. Media & the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.

      The Occupation of the American Mind provides a sweeping analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people – a battle that has only intensified over the past few years in the face of widening international condemnation of Israel’s increasingly right-wing policies.

    • Abe
      April 21, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Roger Waters interview discussing ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, the pro-Israel Lobby, and the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7jcvfbLoIA

  5. jmni53
    April 21, 2018 at 1:15 am

    What a load of Kabuki! We will now sit around and pontificate at great length about “Man’s evil nature” while the world catches fire. If you want to stop these A$$h#ts, take away their funding. Start a tax revolt, and refuse to pay anymore of your money to this corrupt cesspool of a government until it agrees to use it the way it should be used. It worked for the oligarchs who founded this country. No reason why it can’t work for us 99-percenters. Best of all, you don’t have to fire a shot to get there attention. Otherwise, we are all going to wake up to an utterly ruined planet at some point in the not so distant future.

    • Piotr Berman
      April 21, 2018 at 2:31 am

      I am not sure in what country do you live. USA converted from Confederation to Federation precisely to handle tax revolts smoothly. If you want IRS to pay attention to you they surely will.

      It boils down to getting majority of votes (more precisely, the majority in Congress, or Senate, or presidency) for anti-imperialists. Trump, with all his limitation, proved that much derided “isolationism” is not electoral poison, actually, such a position is a political asset.

    • Roberto
      April 21, 2018 at 8:13 am

      Whenever funding is needed, paper gets printed to cover the bill. There is no freedom of choice involved in any of this, it’s the fascist model.

  6. Piotr Berman
    April 20, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Paul E. Merrell, J.D.
    April 20, 2018 at 6:26 pm
    “This violent tableau resembles something from the darker side of modern warfare. But it instead describes the grizzly demise of a group of African hunter-gatherers some 10,000 years ago. They are the victims of the earliest scientifically …”

    This is not particularly surprising. I read an analysis of primitive agricultural societies, where villages were engaged in a sort of permanent ceremonial warfare dubbed “head hunting”. This practice lead to more sustainable spacing between villages, assuring sufficient amount of land for slash-and-burn agriculture and a sufficient amount of forest to supplement diet with game, fruits etc. As an extra bonus, “head hunting” was tempering the tendency to unduly deplete game animals. On a different end of time scale, fish stocks in Northern Atlantic rebounded very nicely during world wars, and in the absence of warfare over North Atlantic in more than 70 years, fish stocks are sadly depleted.

    Intra-species aggression assuring sustainable spacing between individuals or packs existed for the same reason — it actually improved the survival of the species. So it is not surprising that hunter-gatherers did practice that, even if an organized massacre was an outlier. OTOH, I do not understand how archaeologist decided that some weapons were designed specifically against fellow humans.

    That said, warfare lost its “ecological benefit”, so I would not defend it with this argument. For example, Roman Republic and later Empire lost a number of stupid leaders in ill-conceived wars, Syria and Mesopotamia was notable as a burying ground. But now stupid leaders and their helpers not only live in comfort, they are even spared political consequences.

  7. Piotr Berman
    April 20, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Words of ancient wisdom: “Give dog a bad name and kill him”. Actually, this is about 300 years old. More ancient is “repetitio mater studiorum”, roughly, repeating makes you learn. After repeating umpteenth times that Assad (unlike the hereditary despots further south) is an animal, and Putin (unlike, say, chief gonzo of Azerbaijan who sells oil and gas in a way recommended by “the West”) is a dictator etc. predictable majority believes that.

    Some people exercise their ability of logical thinking as follows: since Assad rules roughly like an Arabian monarch, and we like the monarchs, Arabs probably cannot be ruled by anyone better, so an armed intervention in Syria is foolish (e.g. Monbiot of The Guardian).

    Other people think “Since calling people animals justifies killing them, and here were have three animals, and the owners will not be back anytime soon, why not kill the three critters!” To me, it was a bit amazing, because it happened in England, and before I read many examples of the English going bonkers to save foxes, badgers, hedgehogs etc. etc. But if faithful officials of the government hear “animal” used pejoratively a number of times, the results may be as described.

    Basically, a human tends to be more intelligent than, say, a hedgehog, but we should not exaggerate the extent of that difference.

  8. david
    April 20, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I really recommend this you tube of Assad then make your own decision, it is 3:55 minutes long…..
    https://www.youtube.com/watchv=byg0uwtb8_o&lc=z13diprikk3nsxoax04ce5mbapbljrtwcd4.1502599788247888&feature=em-comments

    • Abe
      April 21, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Correct URL for video of Syrian president Assad
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byg0uwtb8_o

      The Syriana video channel on YouTube was launched by a Syrian independent journalist based in Germany.

      Kevork Almassian launched the YouTube channel to provide reports and analysis regarding Syria and the greater geopolitical issues.

      “The tide is turning and the people in the United States and Europe are waking up, realizing that their governments are lying to them in regards to Syria, the same way they did in Iraq in 2003”, says Almassian.

  9. April 20, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    “This violent tableau resembles something from the darker side of modern warfare. But it instead describes the grizzly demise of a group of African hunter-gatherers some 10,000 years ago. They are the victims of the earliest scientifically dated evidence for human group conflict—a precursor to what we now know as war.

    “The battered skeletons at Nataruk, west of Kenya’s Lake Turkana, serve as sobering evidence that such brutal behavior occurred among nomadic peoples, long before more settled human societies arose. They also provide poignant clues that could help answer questions that have long plagued humanity: Why do we go to war, and where did our all too common practice of group violence originate?”

    Brian Handwerk, An Ancient, Brutal Massacre May Be the Earliest Evidence of War, Smithsonian.com (20 January 2016), http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-brutal-massacre-may-be-earliest-evidence-war-180957884/

    • Zachary Smith
      April 20, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      Why do we go to war, and where did our all too common practice of group violence originate?

      Paul, I want to recommend a pair of books to you in case you don’t already know of them. The first is recent, and in my opinion ought to be read first.

      “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham

      It solves, to my satisfaction, the question of why we humans have large brains at all. Until this book came out in 2009, none of the other explanations made any sense. Fire served another purpose – it kept Africa’s predators away at night. Pregnant women and those carrying newborns are not in great shape for climbing trees in an emergency situation.

      The second book to read is considerably older: 1969.

      “The Dawn Warriors: Mans Evolution Towards Peace” by Robert Bigelow

      Once humans were able to handle 4-legged predators, their problems had hardly ended, for now they were facing some ferocious threats from their own kind. Winners would take all, and the evolutionary stakes could hardly be higher. Bigelow believed cooperation was the key, and that’s something which requires a specific sort of brain – a type which wasn’t nearly universal. At the end I recall the author remarking that we were coming up on a point where our large brains would either save us by making the last step to a cooperative world government, or they would ensure our destruction by the thermonuclear weapons which are silently waiting.

      Both of these books have left quite a mark on me.

      • WC
        April 21, 2018 at 6:52 pm

        ” a cooperative world government”. The Collectivists nirvana. Be careful what you wish for.

  10. Drew Hunkins
    April 20, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Sort of off topic:

    Louis Proyect, over the last few mos, has really been heaping the scorn and ridicule on anyone who purports to be of the progressive left or anti-war movement and has a few nice things to say about Assad or Putin.

    This Proyect character needs to be called out for his misguided and deceitful columns, of which, sadly, Counterpunch gives prominent space to. Love to see a great piece in ConsortiumNews taking apart Proyect’s indirect appeasements for the Washington-Saudi-Zio Terror Network. While we’re at it, Amy Goodman and Democracy Now need to be taken down a peg or two for their half-truths about Syria.

    Now Proyect is running about throwing around the scornful term “Fisking” which was used by mainstream scribes who were apologists for war and empire to denigrate and mock the superb reportage Robert Fisk has done in exposing Zionist crimes in Palestine and Lebanon and Washington crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    And Proyect professes to be an anti-war Marxist? With friends like these…

    • mike k
      April 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      These dark propagandists need to be called out for what they are. Democracy Now is engaged in a shameful sellout.

    • April 20, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Democracy Now just got called out for the crimes you describe. hxxps://www.mintpressnews.com/democracy-nows-alt-media-platform-for-humanitarian-imperialism/240800/

      • Drew Hunkins
        April 20, 2018 at 6:36 pm

        Excellent! Thank you for this. How prescient.

  11. Bill Goldman
    April 20, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    West Chester, Pa. was the birthplace of SmedleyDarlington Butler. He was a Quaker and I just learned that his name came from the names of 3 Quaker families which settled in Penn’s colony.
    Davidson’s article makes sense and a look at Butler’s career seems to confirm it. Butler was in American colonial wars from the early 20th century on (Cuba, Philippines, Mexico, etc.). His military record was impeccable and he won more medals for bravery than any Marine in history. His Quaker upbringing didn’t prevent that. However, when he retired and lashed out at the established with his book “ War is a Racket” writing that he was a racketeer for capitalism and a muscleman for the mega corporations of the time, he became controversial. Read “Maverick Marine” by Hans Schmidt, “Old Gimlet Eye” by Lowell Thomas, “The Letters of a Letterneck” by Ann Cipriano Venzon, and “S. D. Butler, A Biography” by Mark Strecker (if you can find them) to learn more about him.

  12. Abe
    April 20, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Geopolitical scientist Manlio Dinucci has written extensively on the militarization of the European Union and the US/NATO “art of War”.

    Dinucci reports that the attack on Syria was actually agreed upon and planned within NATO.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=489&v=02toJRYsEBQ

    This is proved by the fact that, immediately after the attack, the North Atlantic Council was convened: the United States, Great Britain and France “briefed Allies on their joint military action in Syria overnight” and Allies officially expressed “their full support for this action”.

    Premier Gentiloni also stated that “the logistical support that we provide above all to the US could not in any way result in the fact that from the Italian territory started direct actions aimed at hitting Syria”.

    In fact, the attack on Syria from the Mediterranean was led by the US Naval Forces Europe, with headquarters in Naples-Capodichino, commanded by Admiral James Foggo, who at the same time commands the Allied Joint Force Command Naples with headquarters at Lago Patria (Naples).

    The war operation was supported by the US Naval Air Station Sigonella and the Niscemi station of the US Muos system of naval transmissions. As the radar tracks show, the US RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drones, taking off from Sigonella, played a key role in the attack on Syria, attack supported by air tankers to refuel the jet fighters.

    Italy therefore shares the responsibility for a war action that violates the most elementary norms of international law.

  13. mike k
    April 20, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Join Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping!

    http://www.revbilly.com/

  14. mike k
    April 20, 2018 at 11:26 am

    The Oracle at Delphi counseled” Nothing too much. We have not heeded it. WE ARE DYING FROM OUR EXCESSES. Less stuff means more life. Small is beautiful.

  15. April 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

    At the Pittsburgh zoo there was a sign that reads “In the next room you will find the most dangerous animal on Earth”. Entering that room, you find yourself looking at your own image in a mirror. Having a biology degree, i get really annoyed to hear “he’s an animal” ignorantly stated as Trump did. Even the largest predators of the animal kingdom kill only for food, not for misplaced power or greed, as the human species does.

    • mike k
      April 20, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Higher intelligence gives humans greater capacity to do good – or evil. Tasty fruit, but sometimes containing deadly poison.

      • mike k
        April 20, 2018 at 11:21 am

        Like nuclear energy – attractive, but deadly.

    • Nancy
      April 20, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Excellent point! But we are animals too. Humans give the rest of the animal kingdom a bad name.

  16. Ted
    April 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

    “Our proclivity to violence has been institutionalized and our fundamental societal need to maintain group cohesion has been perverted by the those who claim to be our leaders.”

    Indeed. However, this may help straighten our backbones a bit: “The political machine works because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority.”    – Will Durant

    • mike k
      April 20, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Good points Ted.

  17. mike k
    April 20, 2018 at 10:43 am

    That creepy picture that heads the article says more than a thousand words could about the crazy atmosphere at the “Top”. Reminds me of the comic books I grew up on, depicting the evil fiends seeking to rule the world.

  18. April 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Trump fell into the “wag the dog” trip because of the Stormy scandal scene and the hounds baying at his heels. Plus he got a neocon “Bolton” of electricity applied to his head.

    • mike k
      April 20, 2018 at 10:36 am

      That Bolton electricity smells a lot like bullshit. As if Trump didn’t have enough of that in his head already………

  19. Babyl-on
    April 20, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Really appreciate thus article which finally begins to address the societal and cultural imperatives of violence especially violence on a mass scale, and the reaction of society in ignoring the vast slaughter of innocent people.

    There have been some tremendous advances in the understand of these cultural behavioral phenomenon, especially the work of Antonio Damasio.

    Studying these advances we learn that our Enlightenment views of society and culture are simply wrong. But, it is a complicated story which Damasio in his books illuminates quite well.

    Our society honors and rewards the most ruthless among us, our leaders stand ready to slaughter millions of people, an act they can justify as for the greater good. Unless and until this social view of power worship is addressed little else will change.

    With Damasio’s work, the discovery of mirror neurons and the greater understands they offer us we can now, at long last, begin to see a path toward changing this deeply harmful social, and individual (as we are all a part of the social “body”) so desperately needed to end what has been our legacy from the Enlightenment, that the powerful who slaughter innocents should be held in awe. That reason is everything and feelings are for wimps.

    Here is as link to one of the best written and most insightful essays which is far more enlightening than what I have written here.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/14/the-end-of-the-enlightenment-a-fable-for-our-times-2/

    Imagine living in the world before Einstein or Schrodinger, living in a world of balls on a pool table unable to go to the moon from not understanding nature enough. That is where we stand today in neuroscience, Damisio work and those other neuroscientists working on mirror neurons should be seen, and I hope in the future they will, as the Einsteins and the Schrodingers of the human mind and self.

    In this troubled world it is hard to find hope but there is real genuine hope in these discoveries.

    I am also acutely aware of the technology trap – that don’t worry technology will save us, something will be discovered or invented to stop climate change or whatever problem one addresses, but of course that is not born out by history and is a poor way for society to approach existential threats. While yes, these are “scientific” discoveries, they have little to do with “technology” as we understand that term today, they have to do with understanding what is already in us.

    • mike k
      April 20, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Good comments as usual Babyl-on. But I don’t think our solutions will have a lot to do with the fashionable materialistic brain research. Simple changes in behavior are all that is needed. For instance, Einstein’s suggestion that young folks refuse military service. I was drafted back in the day, and I refused military “service” (actually enslavement) without the benefit of PT scans and all that fuss.

      Of course I am being a little facetious, because I am aware that most young folks have not chosen the long and difficult fight I waged in my life with authority, which enabled me to stand up to the military – which institution is the epitome of the authoritarian way. How you get folks to throw off the conditioning of a lifetime is our problem. No wonder some of us turned to stuff like LSD to facilitate the degree of change needed to become a new person. (The acid didn’t do the job, unfortunately.) We are still seeking the means to give people a new mind, so we can have a much needed new world………. CN is one of the places we end up sharing our quest.

      • DG
        April 20, 2018 at 12:48 pm

        Fully agree, mike k — including being another war resister from those years to the present.

        • mike k
          April 20, 2018 at 5:50 pm

          Good to have your company DG.

      • Sam F
        April 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

        Yes, new ways of thinking are the key, and new institutions forming a new public mind, to permit public debate, the celebration of public spirit and human values lost in our culture of greed, lying, and bullying.

        Our problem is not so much that we have human faults and goals, as that our institutions have failed to teach morally, have selected the worst among us to wield power over mass media and elections, have created a morally corrupt mass media culture. Religion and philosophy are not the most effective moral educators: personal experience of public culture and its institutions and laws do most of that in practice, and ours teach only corruption, by example, incentive, and explicit advocacy of the worst in human nature.

        • mike k
          April 20, 2018 at 5:51 pm

          Great comment Sam.

      • historicvs
        April 21, 2018 at 8:54 am

        “The essential idea underlying military conscription is the major premise of every dictatorship and all totalitarianism. It is the assumption that the individual citizen is but a pawn in the hands of unlimited State power.” These words are from a Declaration of Conscience signed by hundreds of prominent Americans and published on July 8, 1940, in response to FDR’s draft, the first peacetime draft in our history. This was part of the strong American opposition to involvement in a second European war, which has been so effectively censored out of “the good war” fiction of World War II.

        We have not known a day of peace since these wise words were ignored. Our government continues to invent an endless series of comic-book villains who, they tell us, are determined to deny us our right to uncontrollably consume the planet’s resources, unless we continue the insane course of militarization to its logical conclusion, total global domination.

        Interestingly, the author of the 1940 Draft Bill, Senator Edward R. Brooke, went on a fact-finding tour of Nazi Germany in 1938 and returned praising Hitler for “bringing about the well-being of the entire German people.”

  20. Anon
    April 20, 2018 at 8:32 am

    The article seeks to condition the reader to the idea that war fever and monstrous behavior have no cure.

    • April 20, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Anon, one of the first things I do I the morning is to click on CN. My reaction to the article of doom was the same, but your clever response picked me up. Professor Davidson does make great points, of course but leaves you with an unhappy taste of fatalism. We are all doomed. At least we can hope not and maybe do something that might help.

      • Anon
        April 20, 2018 at 3:12 pm

        The doom is always true but hope is necessary to work for progress however far off.
        We who seek to educate know that we only maintain the capability for future action by others.
        The corruption of our culture and institutions by money is our real and crushing national debt.
        Those who are angry await the collapse and disastrous struggles that reform institutions.
        If well led by those we have educated, we win, but it will still be a disaster for everyone.

    • mike k
      April 20, 2018 at 10:14 am

      There is a cure, but those who need it the most – refuse to take it. The cure is nonviolence, peace, and sharing with others. If you have a way for us to get our leaders to follow these simple principles, please let us know – we desperately need it!

      • Anon
        April 20, 2018 at 3:05 pm

        The ways to influence a set of leaders are not open to many of us, but the principal ways to promote nonviolence, peace, and sharing among leaders is to select such leaders, which requires a democracy.

        • mike k
          April 20, 2018 at 5:56 pm

          A real democracy requires a truly educated populace – something the US does not have. Our populace is deeply brainwashed. Part of that brainwash is the lie that we live in a democracy.

  21. john wilson
    April 20, 2018 at 4:14 am

    One mans’ monster is another mans’ hero. Assad may or may not have gassed 40 or so people, so he’s branded a monster. George Bush and subsequent American presidents have murdered well over a million people in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria etc etc, but they are held up as beacons of caring interventionist, spreading democracy in the form of bombs. So, when is a monster not a monster? when he’s defending his country against an American inspired onslaught of murder and mayhem.

    • j. D. D.
      April 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      The was no chemical attack in Syria.This assertion by the governments of both Russia and Syria is being validated by journalists from The Independents’s Robert FIsk to OAN News to diplomats such as former to former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford.Rather, it was an event staged by the terrorist connected White Helmets which, with the help of the British Foreign Office, BBC and Reuters, went viral. Why? The intent of Ms. Mayhem and her French Poodle Macron should be obvious, to get President Trump to rethink his an-nounced intention to withdraw from Syria and to at the same time to further confrontation with Russia.This is the self-appointed new role of the UK, as announced in the Sunday Telegraph of April 14, to lead the “liberal democracies” in crusade against what it terms “totalitarian capitalism,” recklessly threatening not only peace in Syria but risking WWlll as well.

      • John P
        April 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

        Robert Fisk is still open on the question and only related what he had been told by a doctor (other doctors were not present) and some other people near by. He states he cannot vouch for the authenticity of the story which needs more research. I await his further research.

        • rosemerry
          April 20, 2018 at 4:45 pm

          There were other interviews confirming his findings, plus the lad who was dragged in, showered and given cookies and dates by the “white helmets” who filmed, then left. See vesti news on youtube.

  22. backwardsevolution
    April 20, 2018 at 2:18 am

    falcemartello – good post. Yes, I agree that what’s happening in Syria is no more a civil war than Ukraine is. The West have caused the wars in these two countries, but then they try to fool people by calling it a “civil war”. And as you say, most of these “freedom fighters” are nothing but paid mercenaries from outside of Syria. They are armed, trained, paid and fed by Western dollars.

    I notice that nothing was said in the article about Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State who rejoiced in the fact that a sovereign leader (Gaddafi) was butchered and murdered. And Obama is treated with kid gloves when the author says:
    “Even those who come to office with relatively decent reputations, such as in the case of the U.S., Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, end up with bloody hands.” Putting those two in the same sentence is an insult to Jimmy Carter.

    This isn’t about Shiites versus Sunnis. It’s the attempted overthrow of another sovereign government.

    • Realist
      April 20, 2018 at 3:51 am

      All good points which the MSM studiously avoids or twists. The amount of Scheiss shoveled by the NYT, WaPo and all the “news” networks is monumental. Yet the truth-tellers in independent media are the ones being persecuted in this paranoid schizophrenic country.

    • Sam F
      April 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      Yes, although the Saudis regard Syria-Iraq as Sunni-Shiite conflicts. Trump demanding that they pay for US presence suggests that he is not getting enough zionist bribes, although his handlers seem to be getting theirs.

  23. Zachary Smith
    April 20, 2018 at 1:25 am

    The problem with all this is (1) Trump has no hard evidence that Assad was behind the alleged gas attack and (2) killing your own people is, unfortunately, what civil wars are all about.

    Sensible and realistic remarks like this is one of the reasons I like this forum so much.

    How about the invasion of a nation along with the subsequent killing of at least half a million people, all based on “false and overstated intelligence”? That is what the “monster” and “animal” President George W. Bush did back in 2003 in Iraq.

    Opinion time because its late and I’m not going “researching”, but I believe these numbers are too low. Half a million dead people is more in the ballpark of what Bill Clinton did with his Iraq sanctions. Codpiece Commander GWB’s body count was at least double this.

    There is no ready solution to any of this.

    Agreed. On the front page with this essay are at least two other titles which speak of the “media’s” role in keeping the violence and mayhem going. Either they directly lie about what’s happening, or they don’t report it at all. Just now checked Google News for the Big Stories they’re pushing.

    James Comey
    Donald Trump
    Andrew McCabe
    Hillary Clinton
    Rudy Giuliani
    North Korea
    Kim Jong-un
    Robert Mueller
    Gilchrist County, Florida
    Alabama

    Really important and earth-shaking stuff! As if anybody cares what the evil ***** Hillary is doing. Doing a word search on the same Google News page for the term “Gaza” turned up NOTHING. Word search for “Syria” resulted in one find:

    Man linked to 9/11 attacks on U.S. captured in Syria: Pentagon

    Diversion, distraction, and silly gossip is what “they” use to keep citizens from concentrating on serious issues. Sometimes the purpose of all this to stall to buy time until it’s too late to do anything. The link is about Israel, but the same kinds of arguments hold true for the US and elsewhere. When a particular sort of propaganda campaign works, you use it everywhere.

  24. April 19, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Good article but you are missing a few notable modern day monsters. Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, Thatcher ,Reagan, Bubba Clinton ,Albright.
    Further more there is enough evidence out that Syria is nothing but a civil war but is a war raged against it by FUKUS. Live video footage of Sarkozy regime foreign minister on live TV stating in his educated French that he was invited by Cameron’s perfidious Albion foreign minister Fallon the long nosed WASP “Seeing that Libya was so succesfull would you like to partake in the Syrian project REGIME CHANGE. So it only continues with the Orwellian spin that the Syrian fiasco is a civil war most of the Takfiri’s are from foreign lands and are not locals.

    • KiwiAntz
      April 20, 2018 at 1:25 am

      They couldn’t fit Obama, Cameron & the other shysters around the Saudis “Glowing Globe of Terror”? Another person missing was “Dr Evil” from a Austin Powers movie, that’s how ludicrous this picture is?? The Worlds real tyrants with their stumpy little mitts around a glowing disco ball? How Pathetic?

Comments are closed.