The Bloodlust of Walter Russell Mead

Good news — the Syrian rebels are mellowing! McClatchy news agency reports from the front lines:

Abu Abdullah said that the [rebel military] council had ordered the executions of some 150 men since the beginning of the conflict, but that the rate had declined as the rebels feel the neighborhood is ‘cleaned’ of pro-regime elements.

“’In the beginning, we would execute 10 or 15 men a week,’ he said. “Now it’s closer to one every 10 or 20 days.’”

That’s what I call progress. Before you know it, they’ll go to monthly executions. Maybe they’ll even stop putting prisoners in cars rigged with explosives and then detonating the vehicle remotely when it approaches a government checkpoint — another charming practice noted by McClatchy. But don’t get your hopes up….

So barbarous are these “rebels” that they record their atrocities for posterity by making videos and posting them on YouTube: they expect the world to applaud them rather than step back in horror. Over at the US State Department, they aren’t exactly applauding, but then again neither are they backing off their support for the “Free Syrian Army”: “We condemn actions like that,” said Jay Carney, former Obama shill at Time magazine and now the official White House spokesman, “but [he] quickly added that Syrian government forces have perpetrated “the overwhelming amount of violence in Syria.”

Just wait until the rebels get in power: they’ll soon match — and perhaps outstrip — the atrocities the Assad family has committed in its decades of dictatorship. Summary executions, the “cleansing” of neighborhoods, the car bombs, the imposition of Sharia law on the “liberated” areas — the Islamist reign of terror in Syria has just begun, and you are paying for it with your tax dollars. Remember that when tax time comes along.

Yes, the US government “condemns” these monsters, but they’re footing the bill for the insurrection, championing the rebels in international diplomatic forums, and sending aid directly to these monsters. What does a condemnation out of Carney’s mouth mean in this context?

Next to nothing. After all, why should the US do anything more than lamely try to distance themselves from the rebels’ bloodthirsty jihad — when our own military does much worse as a routine matter? We launch cowardly drone attacks on distant targets, raining death on women, children, donkeys, and anyone or anything that gets in our way, killing thousands of civilians. We lock up prisoners — most of whom are innocent — without charges and keep them for years. Our decades-long campaign to carry out regime-change in Iraq resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, not only in the course of the fighting but also in the run-up to the shooting: sanctions murdered many thousands of children and old folks. And we justify it all with a barrage of lying propaganda — and brazen arrogance — which is lapped up by the “mainstream” media.

The real military heft of the rebel army is provided by Al Qaeda and its affiliates, while the “Free Syrian Army” is basically a myth: the reality is that the FSA is just a name, while the rebels’ military assets are located in a myriad of local militias under the control of radical Islamists. When Syrian newscaster Mohammed al-Saeed was kidnapped from his home in Damascus by rebel forces, his execution was publicized in a video with the Al Qaeda flag flying in the background. “May this be a lesson to all who support the regime,” the kidnappers declared. If this isn’t terrorism, then there is no real meaning attached to the term. The murder was claimed by the “Al Nusra Front,” a local gang of jihadists who openly support Al Qaeda. Al Nusra has been behind most of the really spectacular successes pulled off by the rebels: the suicide bombing in Damascus that killed top Ba’ath party officials, including the minister of defense; a raid on the heavily fortified Syrian Air Force building in Damascus and numerous other attacks on targets throughout the country.

Of course, no Westerner who supports the rebels could actually defend these atrocities, which is why Carney and his bosses are issuing empty “condemnations. Oh, but wait: we haven’t taken into account Walter Russell Mead, the noted foreign policy analyst and neocon-par-excellence, who writes:

We think the human rights crusaders calling for the arrest of the rebels after these executions are barking up the wrong tree. Revolutionary Syria has no courts and no law at the moment. To speak of ‘crimes’ in circumstances like this is to make rhetorical noise, not to enunciate valid principles of law. Aleppo is in a state of nature, where there can be no crimes and the law of the jungle is pretty much all that applies.”

To warmongers of Mead’s ilk, who glories in his “hard-headed” invocation of the Law of the Jungle, the idea of moral law — a law above states, courts, and the apparatus of coercion — is just “rhetorical noise.” Glorious “revolutionary Syria,” where US tax dollars are going to fuel Washington’s regime-change operation in the Middle East, exists in “a state of nature” — a condition that underscores the real nature and goal of our policy in the region.

What the Americans are doing in Syria goes way beyond mere “war crimes.” In the past, acts deemed “war crimes” mostly consisted of random incidents, rather than pre-planned efforts to, say, exterminate an entire people. The Nazis are recalled with universal loathing precisely because of the exceptional character of their horrific crimes. The Communists, although less loathed, engaged in similarly large-scale atrocities. What is happening in Syria is the planned extermination of a nation, rather than a people. While it’s true US support for the rebels is a dagger aimed at the heart of Syria’s Christian and Alawite minorities, the effective elimination of these groups isn’t the goal of our regime-changers: their purpose is to atomize the Syrian state and produce a region in chaos. To divide, smash up, and remake the Muslim world — that’s the long-range goal. In the short term, however, they’ll settle for a blow struck at their principal enemy in the region. The rebels are but a lure, which this administration is hoping will reel in a really big catch: the Iranians.

The kidnapping of dozens of Iranian religious pilgrims in Syria — also claimed by Al Nusra — and the rebels’ contention that the pilgrims are in reality “Iranian Revolutionary Guards” sent in to aid the regime, is a clear provocation. Adding fuel to the fire, the rebels proclaim their intention to target any and all Iranians on Syrian soil: just the sort of tactic one might expect of a terrorist group, which murders indiscriminately. Note that in this account, Al Nusra is wearing its “Free Syrian Army” hat, another clue to the interchangeability of these supposedly separate groups.

The FSA/Al Nusra terrorist ethos is the perfect instrument for carrying out the Western agenda of regional chaos. While Jay Carney can issue all the condemnations he wants, the atrocities committed by America’s Syrian sock-puppets are the key to the success of our strategy in the Middle East. And as thousands die, Mead can effectively tell us to look the other way. After all, Syria is in a “state of nature” — thanks to US government support for the rebels — and the laws of man and God are suspended. Those laws will “return” if and when our sock puppets take Damascus.

This is the credo of the War Party, in all its insane Bizarro World glory: in articulating it so bluntly, the role of people like Mead is to justify mass murder — but is he really up to the job? He concludes his apologia for the jihadists with a call to escalate the slaughter:

More blood must now flow in Syria. Peace will come when the winners are tired of killing and the losers are ready to submit. There will likely be more horrendous footage uploaded to the internet. It’s as if the infamous women knitting in the shadow of the guillotine during the French Revolution had cell phones and streamed the bloody pictures to a waiting world. This revolution, at least in part, is going to be televised, and we aren’t going to like what we see.”

It’s the War Party’s credo of death in a nutshell:

More blood must flow”!

It must flow like a great river, “cleansing” pro-Assad neighborhoods in Syria, driving everything before it and welling up to break the dam of the Shi’ite regime in Iran, flooding the streets of Tehran in a scarlet rain. What’s interesting here is that Mead openly invokes the Jacobin spirit that animates the regime-changers, including himself. This is a development most of us will find a bit surprising, and maybe even shocking — except for the conservative philosopher Claes Ryn, who early on detected the Jacobin spirit in the previous administration’s foreign policy:

Today communism has collapsed, but another universalist ideology, the new Jacobinism, has taken its place. A difference between the French and the new Jacobinism is that the latter has chosen not France but America as mankind’s savior.”

As Uncle Sam drags one nation after another to the guillotine, while the neocon Madame Defarges of the Twitterverse celebrate videos of summary executions, the real nature of the neocons’ “historic mission” — as professor Ryn puts it — becomes all too readily apparent.

The danger posed by the US to the rest of the world is more than the equivalent of the threat once posed by the totalitarian ideologies of National Socialism and its Communist blood brother. Like the Communists, the warlords of Washington have their paid agents in every country, who are hard at work carrying out their orders to pulverize entire nations and leave them drenched in rivers of blood. We see them at work in Syria, and, soon we will see them in Iran.

Onward, ever onward pushes the American juggernaut, with our Lilliputian allies following in our wake as we chart a course set for nothing less than world domination. Relentlessly aggressive, ruthless in its methods, and merciless when it comes to systematically targeting and eliminating its enemies, American imperialism is the main danger to peace and liberty on earth. None of us is safe until it is put out of business — no, not even American citizens, who can be killed by order of our commander in chief, a death sentence against which there is no defense, no trial, and no possibility of appeal.


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Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].