As if Iraq was not enough, they’re lying about Syria to wage war now
Yonden Lhatoo says the US and its allies have not only learned nothing from their disastrous invasion of Iraq, they’re using the same kind of lies to justify the same mistakes they’re making all over again, this time in Syria
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” the old and oft-repeated aphorism goes.
Well, in this age of unreason, we remember the past all right, but we’re completely cavalier about repeating the mistakes of history. Learning lessons is for wimps in the new world order.
The casus belli this time was the Damascus suburb of Douma, where more than 40 people were said to have been killed and hundreds injured when Assad’s air force dropped barrel bombs filled with toxic chemicals on the civilian population.
“The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children writhing in pain and gasping for air,” Trump said, purportedly outraged by video footage from an underground clinic in the war zone depicting chaotic scenes of children traumatised and struggling to breathe while medics splashed water on them.
Trump ordered the air strikes, offering no proof whatsoever of “gas killing animal” Assad’s culpability, when experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were already on their way to Syria to find out the truth.
We’re still waiting for their verdict, but in the meantime, what veteran British war correspondent Robert Fisk has uncovered so far is a stunning repudiation of the mainstream narrative.
Fisk, an award-winning and highly respected journalist who has covered Middle East conflicts for four decades, has gathered witness testimony on the ground in Douma that raises doubts as to whether there was a chemical attack at all.
Writing for The Independent, Fisk tracks down a doctor working at the same clinic, who “cheerfully tells me that the ‘gas’ videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine”. But wait, there’s more.
“The patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”
Fisk’s reporting suggests chaos deliberately created by “first responder” activists from the group known as the White Helmets, who panicked people into believing they were under a chemical attack and doused them with water from hosepipes when they rushed to the clinic for the benefit of the cameras.
This is not the first time the White Helmets, known to work hand-in-glove with terrorist groups operating in Syria as anti-government rebels, have been accused of using unwitting civilians to act out dramas tailored to resonate with the West and provoke an attack on the Assad regime.
The decision to bomb Syria had not even been made when Trump jumped the gun and warned Assad and his Russian allies in a tweet of “nice and new and ‘smart’!” missiles heading their way.
According to US media reports, Defence Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis pleaded with Trump to wait until Assad’s alleged responsibility for the Douma “attack” could be verified and Congress given a chance to authorise the act of war, but they went ahead to validate Trump’s tweets.
Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post