As Nick Land noted, my favorite geopolitical strategist, Edward Luttwak (stay tuned for a review of his new book, The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy) wrote a brief opinion essay in Sunday’s New York Times concerning the Syrian mess that echoes the sentiments expressed earlier by many around these parts, including Land himself.
Luttwak politely tells us that the western intervention alliance has already made such a muddle handling the civil war so far that it has painted itself into a corner with no better options than a permanent stalemate between the parties, so that they may, “… Tumble and rage along, ye rotten waifs and wrecks; clash and collide as seems fittest to you; and smite each other into annihilation at your own good pleasure.”
As Luttwak notes, and despite all the ridiculous, meretricious sermonizing-for-the-camera to the contrary, this is precisely the strategy the Obama administration has been quietly pursuing with our allies for well over a year. Alas, the situation on the ground has changed as we are far from the only players in the region, and the Saudis, Qataris, Iranians, Turks, Hezbollah, and … well, as usual in the geopolitical Ska Band of the Near East, it’s easier to count who’s not on the stage for this particular concert. Don’t worry about missing a performance, the venue has been putting on shows every night since time began.
So, it’s time for war. There may actually be some uncertainty about this, but why should that stop anyone from saying it’s ‘undeniable‘?
The President is said to remain undecided, but he seems preoccupied with the pressing requirements of orchestrating the coming bombardment of the Syrian Regime on yet another obviously fabricated WMD-related ‘moral obscenity’.
We are told the science is settled with regards to the logistically implausible and strategically inexplicable use of chemical weapons against unarmed female and juvenile civilians. Which would be, like, totally illegal or something because, there’s this thing called the “Convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction” which … oh, the Syrians never signed. Huh. Oh well, that’s just about militaries probably, what’s that got to do with anything? Nothing, that’s what. We’re talking human rights here – they trump everything.
Creating a manifest of our universal human rights is a strangely difficult task. You might think you have a human right to ‘life’, but you would be wrong. We can accuse the regime of being responsible for the premature ending of 100,000 lives, and so long as they were conventionally terminated by, say, the penetration of their vital organs and major arteries by small pieces of metal traveling at supersonic velocities, then that’s apparently on the blue side of the red line. But if we counterfeit an event in which 0.1% of that number are alleged to meet their demise at the hands of the Angel of Sarin, well sir, now you’ve gone too far!
Winston Churchill once expressed a similar confusion
I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare. It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.
Modern progressives just keep proving Churchill wrong about everything. No wonder Obama returned that bust.
Believe me on this one – the immediate aftermath of an actual nerve agent attack, especially the Pompeii-like distribution and postures of the corpses (try to learn a little bit about Acetylcholinesterase inhibition), is unbeatably photogenic for propaganda purposes in today’s media environment.
And Arabs, when they’re aren’t simply miming an amateurish imitation of an atrocity they probably caused themselves, are anything but restrained, obsessed with appropriate decorum, or at all hesitant or reluctant to capture, share, and utilize these sorts of real or concocted images for maximum effect. Just try and stop them from doing so without letting off a little skyward automatic gunfire a few inches from their ears; it simply can’t be paid for in softer currency than that. They all own camera-phones over there, and if the truth value of the allegations (apparently the only surefire go-to loophole for justifying violations of International Law these days) exceeded one in a million, you would have already seen those images – after all, they were made especially for you.
But they’re sending in a UN team which will conduct forensic examination to … to nothing. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has already preemptively prepared his audience for a disappointing confirmation of the null hypothesis which, judging from the latest movements of an allied Naval Armada, will arrive a little too late for Assad.
We have to be realistic now about what the U.N. team can achieve … The fact is that much of the evidence could have been destroyed by that artillery bombardment. Other evidence could have degraded over the last few days and other evidence could have been tampered with.
Anyone who believes that will believe anything. It is indeed quite convenient that the Syrian regime is being accused of using a particular non-persistent agent that doesn’t cause any visible scarring or corrosive skin burns. But artillery bombardments aren’t how you erase that kind of evidence, and anyway, if you had enough artillery to bombard the site into chemical neutralization, then why wouldn’t, you know, just use it to blow up the site in the first place? As we’ve shown, that would’ve been a tragic random attack, but not enough, apparently, to ‘warrant a strong international response’.
Anyway, the official press tells us the government has been warning of and worrying about this for over a year, but thought it more worthwhile to equip the insurgents with boots and body armor and other war materiel and Special Forces training, but not, oh, I don’t know, even a handful of a few of the millions of unused antidote kits we’ve got lying around? Maybe some M256A1 detection kits or protective masks? Not even child protective masks? Talk about a public-relations unforced error, “That tyrant Assad! What possible motive could he have had to block the delivery of little baby gas masks?“
Sigh – at least entertain me and come up with some new excuses to precipitate a war. Do we have to pave the road to Damascus by repurposing the same old cobblestones? Oh well, I’ve always wanted to see Aleppo.
But I risk clinical depression with talk of all this decade-duration-deployment-déjà-vu, so I hope you’ll excuse me as I attend to my manor.
Peter Hitchens tries to throw a little sanity-halon on the fire and lists a number of ludicrous inconsistencies in the narrative and scolds the horde of gullible hypocrites. RTWT, but this excerpt clearly illustrates how plainly absurd this allegation is (emphasis added):
President Assad has in fact denied that his government is responsible. The denial is by no means incredible. He knows … that such an attack would provide the pretext for a ‘Western’ intervention in his country.
It would allow the USA, Britain and France to bypass the UN Security Council, and the vetoes of China and Russia against any UN-sponsored intervention. … If he is to be required to prove his innocence, it will be very difficult. Thus, a media presumption of guilt, readily swallowed by vainglorious and posturing politicians (the sort we mostly have these days) is very likely.
In those circumstances, what could possibly have possessed him to do something so completely crazy? He was, until this event, actually doing quite well in his war against the Sunni rebels. Any conceivable gains from using chemical weapons would be cancelled out a million times by the diplomatic risk. It does not make sense. Mr Assad is not Saddam Hussein, or some mad carpet-biting dictator, but a reasonably intelligent, medically-trained person who has no detectable reason to act in such an illogical and self-damaging fashion.
The rebels, on the other hand (in many cases non-Syrian jihadists who are much disliked by many ordinary Syrians because of the misery they have brought upon them) , have many good reasons to stage such an attack .