By Eugene V Dabs
On April 6th, 2017, the Trump regime launched 60 cruise missiles into Syria. The strike followed questionable accusations that Assad had directed the use of chemical weapons on civilians. Interestingly enough, the barbaric assault came a mere hours after Hillary Clinton publically expressed her continued support for regime change in Syria. The architect of the destruction of Libyan civil society, Hillary Clinton is no stranger to the imperialist policies that the Democrats march lock-step with Republicans on.
For anyone who was alive for the media circus surrounding Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass direction, it’s hard not to be reminded of our nation’s long history of spilling blood on false pretenses. In fact, we are still involved in the war in Iraq. Since 2003, the so-called “war on terror” has spread from Iraq and Afghanistan to Pakistan, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and now, of course, Syria. Where is the media outrage over the US/Saudi-airstrike-caused famine, whereby hundreds of thousands of Yemenis are starving to death? Where is the media outrage in Libya, where slave auctions are held daily?
The Syrian airstrikes mark a shift in policy. Since 2011, the USA has merely armed, funded and trained fundamentalist Islamist groups like Al-Nusra, and others loyal to the Free Syrian Army as proxies. They seek to depose the secular, Russia-backed government of Assad and replace it with a Muslim Brotherhood-style religious autocracy. Like our support for Osama bin laden in the 80’s against the Soviet-backed secular government of Afghanistan, this support is all about undermining Russian influence and expanding the tentacles of the global US Military and economic empire.
Any suggestion that the current war is a ‘humanitarian’ one on behalf of the Syrian people is lying to themselves. If that were the case, we would not have destabilized Iraq leading to the deaths of more than 1 million civilians and engineering a refugee crisis in Syria, the likes of which the modern world has not seen since World War 2.
We are at a major crossroads. The anti-Vietnam war movement of the 60’s and 70’s was the thread that brought together so many disparate social and political movements and contributed to the massive success of the Civil Rights movement. Similarly, the disparate social justice movements of today, such as Black Lives Matter, the LGBT movement, the Women’s movement, and the Environmental movement also need a common banner to rally behind. Only together can we hope to overcome this monopoly stage of capitalism.
That is why at noon on Sunday, April 9th, around 50 protestors convened on crowded Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando, in an emergency anti-war protest and march. Organized by members of the ANSWER coalition, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the UCF student group Knights for Socialism and the Orlando Workers League, the march was very successful in initiating a dialogue amongst members of the community. All eyes were on the activists as they garnered attention from all ends of the political spectrum. Many supporters of the Trump regime shouted and swore their disapproval, while church-goers leaving their Palm Sunday mass greeted the protestors with affection and peace signs.
When asked why they had assembled to protest, one organizer exclaimed “It is all too similar to the buildup to Iraq. We don’t have all the information, we already killed civilians, including children, in that strike, and no military solution can bring about the kinds of changes necessary for the region to be palatable to western sensibilities and cultural norms, nor should they have to be. In short, you can’t bomb people into seeing it your way and any further military action by the United States will be used as a recruiting tool for ISIS. They have already taken advantage of the chaos we created with one strike and moved in on the areas surrounding the airstrip. War in our time is always indiscriminate, a war on the most vulnerable sectors of society. We consistently kill more civilians than intended targets and then wonder why people are willing to follow any group who promises vengeance on the west. The point of whether this was Assad or not is irrelevant, at this point, he stands between a stable Syria and allowing it to fall into the hands of ISIS. That is the choice we face in reality with regard to Syria.
Another commented “We stand against all imperialist wars. war is for the bankers, the billionaires, and the ruling class politicians. It’s not for our class, the working class. This war is killing people here by depriving them of basic needs and it’s killing people in Syria with the terrorism of illegal war.”