US Bombs Syria & Ridiculously Claims Self Defense

The U.S. military is an invading force in both Syria and Iraq; it is impossible for its actions in either of those countries to be defensive. It is always necessarily the aggressor, writes Caity Johnstone.

Aerial view of Pentagon at night. (Joe Lauria)

By Caitlin Johnstone

On orders of President Biden, the United States has launched an airstrike on a facility in Syria. As of this writing the exact number of killed and injured is unknown, with early reports claiming “a handful” of people were killed.

Rather than doing anything remotely resembling journalism, the western mass media have opted instead to uncritically repeat what they’ve been told about the airstrike by U.S. officials, which is the same as just publishing Pentagon press releases.

Here’s this from The Washington Post:

The Biden administration conducted an airstrike against alleged Iranian-linked fighters in Syria on Thursday, signaling its intent to push back against violence believed to be sponsored by Tehran.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the attack, the first action ordered by the Biden administration to push back against alleged Iranian-linked violence in Iraq and Syria, on a border control point in eastern Syria was “authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats.”

He said the facilities were used by Iranian-linked militias including Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

The operation follows the latest serious attack on U.S. locations in Iraq that American officials have attributed to Iranian-linked groups operating in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this month, a rocket attack in northern Iraq killed a contractor working with the U.S. military and injured a U.S. service member there.

So we are being told that the United States launched an airstrike on Syria, a nation it invaded and is illegally occupying, because of attacks on “U.S. locations” in Iraq, another nation the U.S. invaded and is illegally occupying. This attack is justified on the basis that the Iraqi fighters were “Iranian-linked”, a claim that is both entirely without evidence and irrelevant to the justification of deadly military force. And this is somehow being framed in mainstream news publications as a defensive operation.

This is Defense Department stenography. The U.S. military is an invading force in both Syria and Iraq; it is impossible for its actions in either of those countries to be defensive. It is always necessarily the aggressor. It’s the people trying to eject them who are acting defensively. The deaths of U.S. troops and contractors in those countries can only be blamed on the powerful people who sent them there.

The U.S. is just taking it as a given that it has de facto jurisdiction over the nations of Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and that any attempt to interfere in its authority in the region is an unprovoked attack which must be defended against. This is completely backwards and illegitimate. Only through the most perversely warped American supremacist reality tunnels can it look valid to dictate the affairs of sovereign nations on the other side of the planet and respond with violence if anyone in those nations tries to eject them.

It’s illegitimate for the U.S. to be in the Middle East at all. It’s illegitimate for the U.S. to claim to be acting defensively in nations it invaded. It’s illegitimate for the U.S. to act like Iranian-backed fighters aren’t allowed to be in Syria, where they are fighting alongside the Syrian government against ISIS and other extremist militias with the permission of Damascus. It is illegitimate for the U.S. to claim the fighters attacking U.S. personnel in Iraq are controlled by Iran when Iraqis have every reason to want the U.S. out of their country themselves.

Even the official narrative reveals itself as illegitimate from within its own worldview. CNN reports that the site of the airstrike “was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks” in Iraq, and a Reuters/AP report says “Biden administration officials condemned the February 15 rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, but as recently as this week officials indicated they had not determined for certain who carried it out.”

This is all so very typical of the American supremacist worldview that is being aggressively shoved down our throats by all western mainstream news media. The U.S. can bomb who it likes, whenever it likes, and when it does it is only ever doing so in self defense, because the entire planet is the property of Washington, DC. It can seize control of entire clusters of nations, and if any of those nations resist in any way they are invading America’s sovereignty. 

It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, and then claimed self defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.

This sort of nonsense is why it’s so important to prioritize opposition to western imperialism. World warmongering and domination is the front upon which all the most egregious evils inflicted by the powerful take place, and it plays such a crucial role in upholding the power structures we are up against. Without endless war, the oligarchic empire which is the cause of so much of our suffering cannot function, and must give way to something else. If you’re looking to throw sand in the gears of the machine, anti-imperialism is your most efficacious path toward that end, and should therefore be your priority.

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the U.S. left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

Standing against imperialism and American supremacism cuts directly to the heart of our difficulties in this world, which is why so much energy goes into keeping us focused on identity politics and vapid energy sucks which inconvenience the powerful in no way whatsoever. If you want to out-wrestle a crocodile, you must bind shut its mouth. If you want to take down a globe-spanning empire, you must take out its weapons. Opposing warmongering and killing public trust in the propaganda used to justify it is the best way to do this.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.   Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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29 comments for “US Bombs Syria & Ridiculously Claims Self Defense

  1. Nathan Mulcahy
    February 27, 2021 at 14:26

    Biden is now “a bonafide US president”, meaning a war criminal. Not that he had lacked the distinction of being a war criminal, but not as a POTUS.

    Who is surprised? He personally had a multi-decade long track record of being a war criminal. Similarly, his party, the Demoplican Party, just like the other brand of the Uniparty , also has a similar track record. Would anyone mind if I say – I told you so?

  2. Phillip Lid
    February 27, 2021 at 13:31

    It is certainly to early to make an intelligent decision of right or wrong relating to the honesty and validity of President Biden’s decision to approve this action. However, believing in his massive level of worldly comprehension, moral character and human compassion, I trust in his decision. I am certain that he covered every possible scenario.
    I also believe that you do not suffer from any diminished capacity for verbiage but are extremely prejudice in your viewpoints..
    Phillip Lid

    • February 27, 2021 at 19:19

      @ Phillip Lid: “It is certainly to early to make an intelligent decision of right or wrong relating to the honesty and validity of President Biden’s decision to approve this action.”

      Wrong. He committed an act of war without Congressional pre-approval in violation of both the Constitution and international law. Of course, I speak of law and not of right and wrong.

      “I know what’s legal, not what’s right. And I’ll stick to what’s legal. . . . I’m not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain-sailing, I can’t navigate, I’m no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh there I’m a forester. . . . What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? . . . And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? . . . This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast – Man’s laws, not God’s – and if you cut them down . . . d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow the[n]? . . . Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”

      R. Bolt, A Man for All Seasons, Act I, pg. 147 (Three Plays, Heinemann ed. 1967), as quoted in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 195-196 (1978), hXXps:// (construction of “virtually complete” major dam halted to protect the endangered Snail Darter; “[t]o sustain that position, however, we would be forced to ignore the ordinary meaning of plain language”).

    • Stephen Lane
      February 28, 2021 at 05:54

      It is fundamentaly wrong to kill another human being no matter what ‘they’ have done, unless in self defence were ones own life is immediately threatened. Then the human being is duty bound to protect his/her own life. What Joseph Biden had done is no more than megalomanical revenge killing which will only exacerbate the whole problem. His kind have no knowledge of peace, equality, freedom or harmany.

  3. Moi
    February 27, 2021 at 01:44

    Why does no one comment on the victims?

    Twenty+ people signed up to do good by fighting IS 1,00km away from where the US was attacked in Iraq. Then for no reason whatsoever they were murdered by the US.

    I bet when Biden goes to church next Sunday he doesn’t give a single thought to those people he gratuitously had slaughtered.

  4. Jeff Harrison
    February 26, 2021 at 21:02

    It is this way because the UN is a completely toothless and compromised organization that doesn’t have a prayer of demanding peaceful behavior from powerful nations. I actually agree with John Bolton – the UN is useless. It doesn’t and can’t prevent the aggressive war being perpetrated by “The West” – in any of its forms – aggressive warfare with missiles and bombs, economic warfare with sanctions not authorized by the UN, Hybrid warfare with propaganda, lies and disinformation, and fifth columnists.

  5. Donald Duck
    February 26, 2021 at 18:13

    ”Biden opts to act as ISIS’ Air Force.” True it is also act as ISIS’s US Foreign Legion. I suppose the result of the US upping the ante in the middle east will be another surge of migrants to Europe. What would we in Europe do without the US running amok just over the other side of the Mediterranean flooding us new asylum applicants, a good number of whom are Jihadists. Thanks a bundle.

  6. DGonsalves
    February 26, 2021 at 16:11

    I often wonder what the american hegemonic success plan looks like. Let’s fast forward to the Atlantic imperial cult “winning” every war, toppling Assad, Putin, the Ayatollah, Maduro, etc. There’s a U.S. puppet in Russia, Iran, Cuba, Vzla and Syria. China is subservient to our Pacific reign. And right wing authoritarians control every other nation and resources et al are under U.S. control. Kissinger,Cheney, Erik prince, Bolton, have all won. Western male Christians have prime level global citizenship… what then? What’s after full spectrum dominance? Of course, I am kidding about all of this, for so many reasons it will never happen, it’s like keeping spinning plates going. Seems like the most profitable part is keeping the chaos and bloodshed going for decades, the MIMIC is winning every day.

  7. February 26, 2021 at 15:36

    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. To justify the action, Nazi propagandists claimed that Poland was planning, with its allies Great Britain and France, to encircle and dismember Germany and furthermore that the Poles were persecuting ethnic Germans.

    On February 25, 2021, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the attack on Syria, the first action ordered by the Biden administration to push back against alleged Iranian-linked violence in Iraq and Syria, was authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats.

    On October 16, 1946, the ten surviving German military and political leaders found guilty by the Nuremberg Court for the planning, preparing and starting or waging a war of aggression were put to death by hanging for committing war crimes.

  8. February 26, 2021 at 13:49

    What is being defended in Syria?

    • Joehillbilly
      February 27, 2021 at 19:57


    • robert e williamson jr
      February 27, 2021 at 23:27

      A tactical geographic location.

      Besides having a mad man as a leader Syrians have the unfortunate reality of their country being located in a very desired tactical location.

      Enter the hysterical right-wing fanatical leadership of Israel, who have the entire region under a microscope held in one had and blow torch in the other. Never forget their presence, which is not likely due to them continually stirring the “pot of conflict”.

      The Israelis and the Saudi’s are buddies now. The result of Mike Pompuosass Pompeo’s meddling at the end the King of the Covid, reject president Trump’s rein as wanna be king.

      For the same reason the democrats could be considered the republicans “paid opposition”, Biden, who may actually make something work here if the Israelis mind their own business long enough, falls into the non-partisan “America First trap” of the Extreme Right republicans by trying to appear strong and avoid conflict with the a-fore mentioned extremist group, his republican faux adversaries.

      But this is no where half the story. We now know that Iran has worked tirelessly to gather intel from assets in Iraq ever since 2003 and likely before. Should be no surprise that our government withheld this info. But for Iran a sound position given that every county engages in the same activities, including our ally Israel.

      Not to be forgotten is the nuclear agreement between many other countries the U.S. and Iran. An agreement that republican, democrat and Israeli agreement critics have condemned and trashed without any actual real reason.

      Now we are getting to crux of the matter. Who gave Pompio the green light to conduct himself in this matter?

      My money goes on those representatives of the Deep State with “juice”. All made too easy by a bumbling weak president too ignorant to realize he didn’t affect these actions himself but was more than willing to take credit.

      He and his family’s boot licking of Bennie netinyahoo gave that Deep State driven portion of the congress / intelligence community / Israeli lobby who call the shots the perfect setup to continue the chaos.

      Typical dysfunctional U.S. foreign policy working exactly like the Deep State desires, resulting in tightly controlled politically engineered chaos throughout the region.

      Iran can’t appear weak, the US can’t appear weak, neither the Saudis or the Israelis can appear weak. All positions created by the hysterical behavior of Israel and their American supporters and as always the Deep State.

      Such is the trap Americans find themselves, seemingly inextricably stuck in.

      Extraneous bull shit ginned up by right wing Israels and their right wing supporters indulgence in the pretense of immanent danger posed to them by others. All others in the region.

      See the Syria’s predicament. It has been working this way since 1947 and it’s time for it to stop.

      To answer teresa smith, it is possible. The remainder of the world needs to harangue the U.S. population to take control of it’s government. It is very obvious to me Americana needs help with righting the ship of state.

      Thanks CN

  9. teresa smith
    February 26, 2021 at 13:27

    I am deadly serious in asking if Biden can be legally stopped, by anyone? I find this action wholly infuriating, sad, and embarrassing. But, this shit has to cease. I have no idea why we quibble about the small stuff but turn a blind eye to illegally waged wars? I have no idea how to turn this trajectory toward peace.
    I will say, nothing like a good pandemic to distract so all things illegal, suspect, and immoral get passed in warp speed. But of course, if it would aid our own country, it will take time.

    • Anne
      February 27, 2021 at 12:45

      Most Americans, I would suggest, either are so enveloped in their own efforts to maintain some sort of life for them and their families or are shrug the shoulders, not happening to me and mine over here so who cares. And for several millions making the bombs, aircraft, missiles and whatnot for those compunctionless Mammon and Moloch worshiping MIC lot – all levels – ensuring that the US is always bombing, killing, destroying somewhere, somebodies on this planet means they get to keep their nicely remunerated wages and pleasant lifestyle. Apparently they do not have an ethical, moral, humane cell in their bodies.

      • Heptad
        February 27, 2021 at 23:30

        Boy, you said it Anne!

  10. Jonny James
    February 26, 2021 at 12:38

    As the late Robert Parry wrote about some years ago: Like it or not, Russia is operating legally in Syria, at the request of the recognized govt. of Syria. The US is in violation of a raft of laws in Syria. However, the US will never follow its own laws, treaties or agreements.

    The US Empire and vassals like the UK, have destroyed Iraq, Libya, bombed many other countries, supported death squads, coups, election rigging, etc. resulting in the deaths of MILLIONS of innocent people. Whenever I hear any US or UK person criticize ANY other country, I simply point out some of the atrocities of the British and US Empires. Folks either deny it or make pathetic excuses.

    Fidel Castro (for just one example) observed that the world does not have “the rule of law” it is the Law of the Jungle – the US Empire commits atrocities that equal any in history, yet we are not supposed to notice. Pathetic lies and excuses are always put forth by the Ministry of Truth. “The largest purveyor of violence in the world” (Dr. MLK Jr.) that was true 50+ years ago and is still true.

    However, all empires and hegemonic powers rise and fall. The US is clearly on the downward trajectory. A desperate and sick Empire will do dangerous and reckless things to try and maintain Full Spectrum Dominance. I hope we all survive that process.

    • February 27, 2021 at 09:49

      The Biden team intends to “finish the job” started by Obama to overthrow the government of Syria. This is no secret for those who follow the news outside the American corporate media bubble.


      The great Jimmy Dore just did a video mocking the Democrats for supporting Biden’s bombing of Syria.


    • Anne
      February 27, 2021 at 12:41

      Thank you to you for this comment (and to Caitlin for her apposite piece)…The US is probably the most rapacious, barbaric, heinous, and hubristic Empire to ever exist…and that’s pushing it.

      Yes ALL empires disintegrate and fall but never truly willingly and almost always bloodily. And this one will not relinquish its imperialist grasp in the least bit quietly….Thus much much danger lies ahead…Mostly, of course, for those thousands of miles from these shores…Here increasing poverty, homelessness, desperation will be the major signs and outfalls…

    • John R
      February 27, 2021 at 14:46

      Go Jonny Go !

  11. Dfnslblty
    February 26, 2021 at 12:33


    usa citizens get dod presse releases – no research, no investigation, no thought by reporters!
    Illegal and immoral murder by usa.
    No different from expotus45.
    Stop funding usa military.

    Keep writing, Caitlin.

  12. C. Parker
    February 26, 2021 at 12:22

    It didn’t take long for the hawk Biden to flap his war wings.

  13. Hunka Burnin Love
    February 26, 2021 at 12:19

    Western media also phrases this as Biden’s “first airstrike”; “first military action” instead of the more obvious and factual “first war crime”

    • Jonny James
      February 26, 2021 at 15:38

      Exactly. Biden and the rest of the political class, no matter which of the two right-wing warmonger parties, (representatives of oligarchy) are cowardly war criminals who order the deaths of innocent people thousands of miles away. Instead of “hawks” these people should be referred to as spineless, cowardly, bloodthirsty warmongers, war criminals, parasites, sociopaths etc. “Hawk” is a malapropism: it is an anthropomorphic metaphor that is simply a euphemism.

  14. Eapen J Panicker
    February 26, 2021 at 11:47

    I have no problem with there being a pause before a rush to judgement as to whether the air-strike was justified or not, that usually means exercising journalistic standards and integrity. However to Caitlin Johnstone’s point the US has it’s wires completely crossed when it backs one set of militia against the other – in this case the cited militias against the US. When it came to “rebel” militias against Bashar al- Assad’s government there were no such qualms about supporting them.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      February 28, 2021 at 04:09

      “Rush to judgment“? USA’s presence both in Syria and Iraq are illegal. Bombing foreign lands (with whom we are not in a declared war), is illegal. As for Iraqi and Syrians it is their right to fight illegal occupiers.

      Biden’s act is a war crime, as was Trump’s, as was Obama‘a. So, the judgment is based on decades. I don’t see how it is rushed.

  15. Em
    February 26, 2021 at 11:23

    B.B.C. headline: Biden raises ‘human rights’ in call with Saudi king.

    What did the monologue consist of this time? That human rights are what the U.S. arbitrarily determines them to be, and to whom they shall apply.

    Don’t look now, unless your eyes are open and you’re prepared to actually witness the truth of the ‘deep state’ foreign policy of the Duopoly, once again in action, under the auspices, on this occasion of the ‘leadership’ of the Biden administration.

    At the close of a mere 25 days in office Biden is responsible for permitting the U.S. military, yet again to attack Syria.
    The absurd is the claim that it was in self-defense! What are U.S. troops doing in sovereign Syria in the first place? They weren’t legitimately invited in by the Syrian government, as were the Iranians and the Russians; no matter how distasteful any of these combatants against, or in support of that government are, to U.S. power dominance globally.

    One claim is that it was in defense of “coalition personnel”. Haven’t we heard that convenient excuse numerous times in the past? Another good excuse term – used at will, to be in anyone else’s backyard, anywhere else it deems appropriate; in Europe, and elsewhere for that matter, is NATO.

    This time, it is yet another brazen, active display of hegemonic, even upgraded applied U.S. foreign policy intentions, in action, for all the world to see. Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed! This ‘new’ (and improved – as in disguised) administration is the same joke we’ve been listening to for decades now.

    And on we go toward… name your poison. All are easy to swallow. Just hold your nose and sleep on!

  16. Carolyn Zaremba
    February 26, 2021 at 10:44

    Caitlin is absolutely right. U.S. are invaders and illegal occupiers and should get the hell out of both countries.

    • rosemerry
      February 26, 2021 at 15:41

      Plus all the others they are interfering with.

      • John R
        February 27, 2021 at 14:50

        ” . . . get the hell out of both countries . . . ” and “Plus all the others they are interfering with.”
        I would like the US War Machine to get out of THIS country too !

Comments are closed.