Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Cervantes Bullshit Translator

So Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes announces that the Syrian military has used chemical weapons, thereby crossing the "red line" established by president Obama and, accordingly, the U.S. will begin providing weapons to "moderate" opposition group, the Supreme Military Council.

Translation: President McCain has been calling us wusses and the corporate media is channeling him and this is not a good time for us to look "soft" on something that might be confused with national security. So we need to do something to look like badasses.

Here are your basic facts.

Whatever evidence the U.S. has had about this, they've had for months. They could have made this announcement at any time, but up until now they've said it was inconclusive.

Anyway, it doesn't actually matter. This whole chemical weapons thing is bogus. Yes, it's against international norms, but not for any particular reason. Blowing people up or shooting them actually works better. Nerve gas doesn't work if you're holed up indoors, and it's not much use in a high wind or rain. Soldiers can wear protective gear and go about their business. Bombs, however, work just great no matter the weather, they can blow up buildings with people inside them, and believe me, you won't care whether you were blown to pieces or poisoned.

The specific claim is that maybe 100 people have been killed by chemical weapons. That is out of about 100,000 who have been killed altogether in the conflict. So, 1/1,000 of the total. But that's just intolerable, whereas the 99,000 dead from bullets and bombs is not.

So this is nothing but a pretext. The corporate media will never deconstruct it or even appear the slightest bit skeptical, however. This proves that Bashar Assad is an evildoer and the U.S., being responsible for the punishment of evildoers everywhere, at least the ones we choose not to ignore or give billions of dollars a year in aid, has no choice but to act.

Also true fact: The Supreme Military Council is not the supreme military council. It represents almost none of the actual insurgent fighters, and it will never run Syria or any part of Syria. It's a phony construction of the west to give them somebody to relate to who does not include, in its official ideology, the expulsion of U.S. power and influence from the Islamic world. Once we give them weapons, they will have to find people to use them, and those will be the same people we won't give weapons to directly.

The outcome of all this is completely unpredictable but it is of little direct interest to the well being of the good people of Peoria, one way or the other. And no, they don't even have oil in Syria. Remember, Assad controlled all of Syria before this whole thing started, and nothing obviously bad was happening to us. The danger that he might regain control of more of it than he has now does not seem like an existential threat, or in fact a threat of any kind.

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