As thousands of refugees wash up on the shores of Europe – over 107,000 in the last month – it is a scene of horror and misery untold. A truck load of 71 dead migrants was recently discovered in Austria: they had suffocated, and body fluids from their decomposing bodies dripping out of the back indicated that a tragedy awaited its discoverers.
They come from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Is it a coincidence that these are all countries that have been attacked by the United States in its endless “war on terrorism”?
From Libya, where Hillary’s war destroyed the country and handed it over to Islamist militants, refugees are being loaded onto rickety boats: thousands have died in a desperate attempt to escape the consequences of Libya’s “liberation” from Gaddafi’s rule. Their homes obliterated, their infrastructure destroyed, their societies pulverized by the terrors of war and occupation, these desperate people are besieging Europe in the tens of thousands, traveling via Turkey to Greece, through Macedonia, Hungary, and Serbia, making for Germany and the West – ironically the source of their misery to begin with.
Syria, once a country of over 22 million, has seen more than half its population either killed or forced to flee. And why? The interventionists blame the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but this is a lie: the United States and its regional allies – Turkey, the Saudis, and the Gulf emirates – have been busy destabilizing the country for years. While the US has supposedly only been funding the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels, the Turks, the Saudis, and the Gulf states have been organizing and funding the Al-Nusra Front, the local Al Qaeda affiliate – and most of the “moderates” have defected to the Islamic State.
The US has steadfastly refused Russian efforts to broker a negotiated end to the Syrian civil war, consistently demanding that “Assad must go.” The Syrian despot is no angel – his air force is busy bombing civilian areas – but he retains significant support from the country’s Christian and Alawite minorities, who would face a massive purge if and when the Islamists take over.
Syria’s plight is a direct consequence of US intervention in that country’s internal affairs: it is yet another regime-change operation gone bad. Without US encouragement, both political and material, the Syrian rebels would never have launched and sustained their revolt. Indeed, Washington has been eyeing Syria ever since the Bush administration targeted them in the early days of the Iraq war, and the Obama administration has continued the same policy in a ramped-up form: whereas the Bush folks merely threatened Damascus without doing much about it, the Obamaites have armed and trained Islamists of a supposedly “moderate” mien, while looking the other ways as its regional sock-puppets pour millions into the hardcore radical jihadists who are the mainstay of the Syrian opposition.
The result: the decimation of an entire country, and a massive exodus that threatens to cause chaos in Europe, roiling ethnic tensions already at the boiling point – and destabilizing the Middle East, from Lebanon (where the influx of Sunni Syrians threatens the delicate balance of religious-political factions) to Jordan.
The smugglers are being blamed for the plight of the refugees, and to be sure these are not humanitarians by any means: once they collect the exorbitant fees they charge, they could care less if the boats they load migrants on spring a leak and sink. Yet the real criminals are those who started the wars these people are fleeing: instead of arresting the smugglers they ought to be arresting the real criminals – the war criminals in Washington, Ankara, Riyadh, Doha, and half the capitals of Europe, whose imperial ambitions are the root cause of the greatest exodus in modern history.
Speaking of war criminals, we don’t want to leave out the Israelis, whose recent attack on Gaza has left that open air prison a total ruin and where people are living in subhuman conditions. The horror of that “war” – and it wasn’t really a war but a one-sided slaughter – has dawned on many, aside from those partisans of the Palestinians who have been almost alone in calling attention to Israel’s depredations. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate the Israelis in the same way as the South African apartheid regime, is catching fire. The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers’ union voted at their recent national convention in Baltimore to boycott Israel, as a statement on their web site reports:
“Delegates upheld the UE tradition of taking courageous stands on foreign policy issues when they adopted the resolution on Palestine and Israel. It points to Israel’s long history of violating the human rights of the Palestinians, starting with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48 that turned most of Palestine into the State of Israel. It cites a statement issued by UE’s officers in 2014 condemning Israel’s war on Gaza last summer that killed more than 2,000, mostly civilians, including 500 children. It calls for cutting off U.S. aid to Israel, US support for a peace settlement on the basis of self-determination for Palestinians and the right to return. The resolution also endorses the worldwide BDS movement – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions – to pressure Israel to end its apartheid over the Palestinians just as similar tactics helped to end South African apartheid in the 1980s. UE is now the first US national union to endorse BDS.
“Speaking for the resolution were Angaza Laughinghouse, Local 150, Matt Braddon, Local 222; Chris Wolford, Local 170; Autumn Martinez and Elizabeth Jesdale, Local 255. Martinez and Jesdale both said they had met Palestinian trade unionists when they attended the World Social Forum in Tunisia, and Martinez said, ‘It’s absolutely disgusting what is going on. Free Palestine!’”
Speaking of things that are absolutely disgusting, the Weekly Standard, flagship publication of that nasty little sect known as the neoconservatives, is warming up to Donald Trump. Initially, editor Bill Kristol, who has been known to hitch a ride on any bandwagon as long as it’s moving, declared himself to be “anti-anti-Trump” (an allusion to his famous father’s position on Joe McCarthy). The ambivalence of the neocons toward The Donald is a replay of their stance toward Tail-Gunner Joe: being elitists, they hated McCarthy’s populism – his means of reaching the public over the heads of the self-appointed “opinion-makers” (such as themselves) – even as they approved of his witch-hunting anti-communist ends.
In the most recent issue of his magazine, however, Kristol ran a piece by Julius Krein which praised the racist demagogue for demanding that the Mexican government pay for the giant wall he wants to build. He’s a ‘nationalist,” avers Krein, who would "take something from someone else in order to give it to the American people." The neocons love his “Make America great again” bullshit, no doubt because it limns their own “national greatness” meme of days gone by. And the resemblance of Trump’s wall to the Israelis’ wall of shame can’t hurt, either….
Speaking of Israel, its ubiquitous American lobby scored a minor victory the other day when Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz effectively blocked a DNC resolution endorsing President Obama’s Iran deal. Has there ever been a foreign lobby with so much influence in this country? Not since the early days of the American republic, when British agents openly colluded with homegrown Tories to restore British suzerainty over the rebellious colonies, has a fifth column wielded comparable influence.
When the head of the DNC and the party’s leader in the Senate both side against their own President in the interests of a foreign country, one has to wonder: isn’t it time to crack down on the Israel lobby, which of all the foreign lobbies is exempt from registering as a foreign agent?
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NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.