The Double Standards of US Foreign Policy

It’s easy for many Americans to perceive the effects of war as short-lived, this is in part due to mainstream media’s lack of coverage; the aftermath and hypocrisy of war are rarely presented. While the news might show the public a glimpse of the initial bombings raining down on the "US enemy," this is stealthily unveiled through the eyes of the military industrial complex, romanticizing the attacks while fascinating over the American firepower strength.

"I am guided by the beauty of our weapon," Brian Williams said cheerfully on MSNBC as he watched the Pentagon-provided footage of the US missile strike in Syria, quoting Leonard Cohen’s song "First We Take Manhattan."

A heroic narrative was quickly molded on the public and all logic was thrown out the window; the United States was portrayed as the good guys stopping the evil dictator Assad from bombing his own people, hence no one stopped to ask the most glaring question of them all, "So the United States bombed Syria because Syria bombed Syria, to teach Syria not to bomb Syria?"

To make matters worse, the US strikes were on Assad’s alleged chemical weapons sites, as if launching more than 100 missiles at chemical weapons storage facilities wouldn’t risk creating a greater hazard and possibly contaminate the surrounding areas. Nonetheless, it was later revealed that the labs bombed were actually an anti-venom medical facility, with zero relation to toxic weapons. Syrian’s who worked at the facility were in shock to learn they had been hit, "If there were chemical weapons, we would not be able to stand here. I’ve been here since 5:30 am in full health – I’m not coughing," said one of the workers; according to them, they were only producing antidotes to scorpion and snake venom while running tests on chemical products used in making food, medicine and children’s toys. Somehow mainstream media failed to report on this, or the fact that inspectors from the OPCW had inspected the building numerous times and concluded that it did not produce any chemical weapons. Moreover, why would anyone have a chemical weapons facility in the middle of their capital? One would think you would try hiding it a bit better.

The truth is US foreign policy exhibits certain patterns that are not so easy to detect because of mainstream media’s distortion of reality.

There’s no doubt that this is extremely reminiscent to Bill Clinton’s missile attack on the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. Due to Clinton claim that the plant produced VX nerve for Bin Laden, the US bombed it under the pretext of stopping the production of chemical weapons. Of course it was later revealed that this was completely false. The plant was merely producing most of the pharmaceuticals in veterinary drugs, and as one of the poorest countries in Africa that was currently under an embargo, it suffered a horrific humanitarian crisis as a result of Clinton’s attacks; the casualties were estimated at tens of thousands – many of them children who died from malaria, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases. Sudanians no longer had access to lifesaving medicine, and just like in Syria, the plant had recently been inspected and cleared before the attack; the World Health Organization granted it a "good practicing license."

"The point is you bomb anyone you want to" Noam Chomsky said. "It’s a western crime and therefore it was legitimate. Just suppose that Al-Qaeda blew up half the pharmaceutical supplies in the US or England or Israel or any country in which people lived, human beings, not ants, people, can you imagine the reaction, you’d probably have a nuclear war, but when we do it to a poor African country it didn’t happen, not discussed."

Moreover, prior to Trumps attack on Assad, a US led coalition had actually been caught using chemical weapons in Syria; munitions loaded with white phosphorus were being used by the US led forces battling the Islamic State. This was indiscriminately used over civilian populated areas. Similarly, during the Iraq war in the Second Battle of Fallujah, the US used chemical weapons on civilians during their bombardment, leading to irreversible health problems among Fallujah’s population. Ironically, this was also done under the pretext of stopping an evil dictator – Saddam Hussein from possessing chemical weapons, an outright lie that was later proven false after no chemical weapons were found; instead the US used them on Iraqi civilians, poisoning generations with cancer and birth defects. Maybe if the public knew that America helped Saddam launch some of the worst chemical attacks in history back in 1988, they would’ve been less eager to invade.

Nonetheless, when it comes to the US attacks on Assad, all of this is contingent on the theory that he bombed his own people, a ridiculous proposition at a time when Assad has almost won the war against ISIS. Why would he want to use chemical weapons on civilians and drag the West back into conflict when he almost regained full control of Syria? The mainstream media refused to ask any of these blatant questions.

Yet behind the scenes, a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had already questioned Assad’s alleged chemical attacks in Khan Shaykhun a year earlier.

"I have reviewed the [White House’s] document carefully, and I believe it can be shown without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun." Professor Ted Postol said. "The video evidence that is being used in the UN report actually shows evidence of tampering with the site," he said in an interview with RT.

If the media had done its job the public would have known that the US has a history of using chemical weapons on civilians and that no evidence actually exists that proves Assad bombed his own people, yet this would allow for the double standard of US foreign policy to be clear as day, making the job of the military industrial complex much more difficult.

Marcelo Guadiana writes for the Borgen Project and RouserNews, focusing on war and poverty. He is a senior at UMass Boston a B.A. in economics.