I will be the first to admit that when news broke that the United States had fired missiles into Syria in hopes of crippling that nation’s chemical weapons capabilities, I immediately feared the prospect of a protracted and potentially catastrophic nuclear war with Russia, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s most prominent ally and defender that has warned against such American aggression.
But my fears began to wane the more I realized that, 1. The American missile attacks were not successful according to early damage assessments, 2. Russia had already indicated that it would only respond if its military personnel were attacked (they were not); 3. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated unequivocally that this was a “one-off” attack, meaning that despite President Donald Trump’s suggestion that this would be a sustained military action, that no such plans are in place to continue hitting Syrian military targets or forces.
In essence, last night’s attack was a multi-million dollar fireworks show, one that looked and sounded fierce, but accomplished very little. In the picture below, Assad is shown strolling to his office this morning, as if he did not have a single care in this world.
Make no mistake, Assad is a brutal dictator who has no qualms in using chemical weapons against his own people. And while I agree, for once, with Trump’s statement that “no amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East–it’s a troubled place,” the historian in me would be remiss if I did not remind Trump and others that the Middle East is “troubled” solely because of centuries worth of European colonial domination. Yep, age-old WASP Supremacist map manipulation that created faux homogenous states where ethnic and religious differences among the natives Never would lead to European forms of constitutional monarchies or modern city states remains a major problem in the region well into the 21st Century.
Indeed, there is something downright perverse–if not outright hypocritical–to see the leaders of Great Britain and France–both among the most brutally repressive Colonizers–acting as if they, along with the Manifest Destiny/Native American killing, African enslaving and lynching United States, can claim the moral high ground on human rights abuses. I mean, the money spent on those Cruise missiles could have been used to ameliorate the water supply in Flint, Michigan–water laced with chemical contamination and whatnot right here in these United States.
But I know that for the former European Colonizers and the United States, war is big business–and good for business. And if we are going to keep it real, from World War I to Vietnam and beyond, the Colonizer Club, including those Hessians with aggression in Germany, have always used chemical weapons to kill enemy combatants and civilians alike. The pictures that follow make the case far better than a few hundred of my words…
World War I gas attacks between Germany and the French/British/American allies:
Germany’s “Zyklon-B” chemical attacks on Jewish and Gypsy Holocaust victims:
American military use of “White Phosphorous and Agent Orange” chemicals in Vietnam:
So, while I continue to sympathize with the civilian victims in Syria, I know that as long as the United States and other nations continue to prevent Syrian refugees from obtaining asylum, that expensive fireworks shows like last night’s are mere form over substance. So, I declare with full sarcasm that the gnat-like attention span of the world can go back to clamoring for more news about Trump’s extra-marital affairs, as opposed to working toward a lasting peace in a region that long has been exploited by Colonizers.