Protect Syria: Will Samantha Power's words fool us again?
Caleb Maupin is a radical journalist and political analyst who lives in New York City. Originally from Ohio, he studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College. In addition to his journalism, analysis, and commentary, he has engaged in political activism. He is a member of the Workers World Party and Fight Imperialism – Stand Together (FIST). He is a youth organizer for the International Action Center and was involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement from its planning stages in August 2011. He has worked against police brutality, mass incarceration, and imperialist war. He works to promote revolutionary ideology, and to support all who fight against the global system of monopoly capitalist imperialism.
Power gave a speech bemoaning what she called “the greatest humanitarian crisis of our generation.” She gave statistics of "6.8 million Syrians in need of assistance.... There were 4.25 million internally displaced persons..." She spoke of "images of emaciated and tortured Syrians, of dead and dying children, and of so much more."
Samantha Power has been the UN Ambassador for several months now, after a lengthy career as one of the many voices reciting this same narrative. Each performance is delivered with a different cast of characters, in different corner the globe where some government has defied Wall Street and neo-liberalism, and the pentagon is itching to attack. The public, of course, must be psyched up to support arming the terrorists, sending the cruise missiles, and overthrowing the defiant regime.
Syria was a relatively peaceful and economically prosperous country, compared to many of its neighbors. The Syrian Arab Republic was a country where Christians, Alawites, Sunnis, and Shias lived side by side. The Baathist government has stood up to Israel and Washington, DC, countless times and now US arms and weapons are flowing into the hands of insurgent groups who seek to overthrow it. Much like the ‘contras’ who once played a similar role in Nicaragua, these ‘rebels’ - many of them paid mercenaries - are not the nicest of people.
The first public speech Power gave after being appointed by Obama was at a conference called by Invisible Children Inc., an NGO that is devoted to opposing the recruitment of child soldiers. The organization is responsible for the discredited internet documentary ‘Kony 2012’, that urged the US to send more troops to defend the autocratic government of Uganda.
Power, like many others in the ‘responsibility to protect’ industry, has done a great deal to publicize the plight of child soldiers in Africa, in order to justify the continued presence of US troops. However, in Syria there are thousands of child soldiers she and her allies promoting US regime change and militarism seem to be completely unconcerned about.
The United Nations reports on children in armed conflict point out that the insurgent groups in Syria, which continue to receive weapons and funding from the United States, have children as young as 11 and 12 among their ranks. Children from all across the region are being actively recruited by sectarian religious groups to go and fight to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic. The US government, along with its allies in the region like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar, are providing money and weapons to these organizations.
Child Soldiers is only an "issue that demands action" if it’s used to justify more military bases in Africa. The children forcibly recruited into Syrian terrorist groups are the most "invisible children" of all. Power speaks harshly of Assad, while very government she represents is arming and supporting their ongoing suffering.
Obama has just announced that the US will give a loan of $1 billion to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan which is said to help arm Syrian rebels. Currently Jordan hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, and many of the children are being recruited to fight against 'dictator' Bashar Assad.
This kind of human rights hypocrisy is definitive of Power’s career, and of the US and European discourse on ‘human rights’ in general. Power's career began with promoting US intervention in Serbia. While her writings bemoaned atrocities blamed on Slobodan Milosevic (many later proven to false), she ignored the crimes of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a group of religious terrorists, who also received loads of weapons and funding from the United States.
The US media, Power among its ranks, created a ‘human rights’ frenzy, with Western TV audiences sobbing about ‘mass rapes’ and ‘concentration camps’ and thinking the US was intervening to rescue the helpless victims. Public support was built up for a horrendous bombing campaign that resulted in thousands of Serbians being killed. Hospitals and schools were deliberately targeted with Cruise Missiles.
The US ‘rescued’ Serbia's children by reducing their homes and schools to rubble, and arming the Kosovo Liberation Army to rape, torture, and murder them.
Power was part of yet another US ‘human rights’ crusade. She is credited with being one of the key figures in pushing for US and NATO intervention in Libya. Here once again, the US funded murderous rebels who committed horrific crimes, but the airwaves and the speeches from the White House were filled with denunciations of the ‘dictator’ Gaddafi. NATO once again ‘rescued’ the victims by bombing their country into ruin.
In each of these instances, Power and her colleagues give a similar performance. Power speaks humanitarian outrages committed by the latest international target of the United States. The words unfold with a diction that almost sounds like that of a left-wing political agitator; they demand we “take a stand” and “stop the suffering of innocent people.” In the rhetoric of the ‘human rights’ interventionists, it is a matter of morality, that the bombs fall, regimes be overthrown, and the US military expand its presence throughout the world.
The problem with this narrative is that the ‘innocents’ whom Power and others call to protect, never end up better off. In Serbia, the people have a far lower standard of living now that Milosevic is gone. Unemployment has risen. Healthcare is less available. By every basic measure of societal health, the people are far worse off.
Libya once had the highest life expectancy on the African continent. Gaddafi provided free healthcare and education to all. The proceeds from Libya’s vast oil resources were used to build a welfare state where people were cared for and lived very well. No one can look at Libya today, a mess of civil war, poverty, and starvation, and say that things ‘got better’ for the people.
Factions are battling each other for control of the country. Poverty, homelessness, and suffering have risen to levels unheard of prior to the 1969 revolution. The ‘dictatorship’ of Gaddafi has been replaced by the ‘anarchy’ of free market neo-liberalism, and warring factions hoping to fill the vacancy in power.
President Obama, Samantha Power, and the echoing voices in the media speak only of ‘the dictator’ Assad. They promote the cause of the torturing, kidnapping, and child recruiting insurgent groups. Syria has been torn apart already by four years of civil war, financed by Western countries that want the independent Baathist government removed.
But let's look at the track record of these kinds of ‘interventions’. The lives of the people never improve. The ‘human rights’ situation often gets much worse.
If insurgents are victorious in their push for ‘regime change’ in Syria, it is clear that the Syrians will be far worse off. Neo-liberalism will triumph over nationalism and independence. Quality of life will decrease. Poverty will rise. Chaos and war will replace stability. The people Power, Obama, and all the others are ‘taking a stand’ for, will be far worse off.
It has happened over and over again. US bombs don't bring freedom.
With Syria already torn apart by years of civil war as the US funds terrorist insurgent groups who clearly cannot win by themselves, with the voices calling for ‘humanitarian intervention’, with an endless media campaign demonizing a government that has long defied Wall Street, Tel Aviv, and Washington, DC, the question is: will Samantha Power's beautiful words fool us again?
Caleb Maupin for RT
Caleb Maupin is a journalist and political analyst who resides in New York City, and organizes with the International Action Center and Workers World Party. He was part of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.http://www.calebmaupin.info
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.