The Usual Suspects v. Syria: WMD for We but not for Thee

by Thomas Knapp

Note: Of course, I’m against any war unless it’s for the most unambiguous reasons of self-defence against aggression – eg the Norman Invasion. What really gets on my tits nowadays, though, is the endless chorus of self-righteous lying that accompanies our attacks on foreign countries. Where weapons of mass-destruction are concerned, Topolčaný is about 300 miles up the Danube from Belgrade. Even so, my father-in-law told me how, in 1999, his tomato crop and those of all his neighbours turned to black slime. God knows what the RAF was dumping on the Serbs. SIG

The Usual Suspects v. Syria: WMD for We but not for Thee

The French, British and Israeli governments have all accused Syria’s regime of using chemical weapons in its ongoing struggle with foreign-backed rebels. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is urging Assad to allow UN inspectors into the country to verify or disprove the claims. And US president Barack Obama, while carefully avoiding a direct accusation, has publicly mused that proof of the charge would be a “game-changer,” by which he means that it would serve as an excuse to escalate US meddling in the conflict.

But the allegation rings hollow … or at least hypocritical:

  • The Israeli government openly used chemical weapons in the West Bank at least as recently as April 26.
  • The French government gassed hundreds of protesters in Paris at least as recently as April 24.
  • Chemical weapons are routinely used by US regime forces for purposes as unimportant as breaking up rowdy college parties. And if we want to expand our focus to more general weapons of mass destruction, the US remains the only country to ever use nuclear weapons on large civilian populations. I suppose we could also talk about white phosphorous and depleted uranium, but you get the picture.
  • Both the US and the UK supply chemical weapons to repressive regimes around the world.

If it seems perverse to compare CS (“tear gas”), the particular chemical weapon used by all these regimes as described above, to GB (“sarin”), the agent they accuse Bashar al-Assad of using, consider, think again: CS is specifically designated as a chemical weapon, just as illegal for use in international warfare as GB, under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

The governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States have signed and ratified that convention. Israel’s government has signed it, although it remains unratified by the Knesset. Yet all four governments freely and frequently use an illegal chemical weapon “on their own people,” the Israelis use it in foreign areas they militarily occupy, and the US and UK export it for use by other governments “on their own people” — all while condemning Syria’s government for allegedly exercising exactly the same domestic/internal exemption. Not that Syria needs such an exemption; it is one of five governments which has never signed or ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The definition of “chemical weapon” and “weapon of mass destruction” gets inflated or deflated as necessary to serve the purposes of a regime’s ruling class, both at home and abroad.

When a US drone fires a Hellfire II missile with an 8-pound fragmentation/anti-personnel warhead into a wedding party in Pakistan, that’s just cricket. When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly sets off two pressure cookers filled with black powder and ball bearings at the Boston Marathon, that’s “using a weapon of mass destruction.”

When the US government uses tanks to pump CS into an American church, sets the building on fire and machine-guns the fleeing residents, that’s “law enforcement.” When Bashar al-Assad allegedly uses sarin on armed opponents trying to overthrow him, that’s “murdering his own people.”

Why are governments so eager to make distinctions between types of weapons? Because those governments are otherwise so much alike as to be indistinguishable one from another.

flattr this!

6 responses to “The Usual Suspects v. Syria: WMD for We but not for Thee

  1. Israel does what she has to do to survive.The worst oppression of Palestinians is by their own rulers in Hamas.

  2. I think if they stopped playing with fireworks much could be acheived, for
    their childrens future at least. Hamas training child soldiers, they rob the
    children of their lives, by what right.

  3. Yes, this is a good point you make, is there any real evidence of chemical weapons sufaced at the moment, I don’t think so, were the scientific proof via blood testing, sample analysis ect, of course you’re right about the rest of the argument, so I won’t bother going into the import export side of things. Of coursewhipping up a whirlwind of chemical weapons would again speed up the need for outside intervention bringing an end to the conflict, this has not worked in Iraq, not much good as come from Lybia, no multimillion pound contracts in the oil industry. as we were falsely lead to beleive by Cameron, but putting all the lies of the politiains to one side, there are perfectly innocent people in Syria being killed, children famlies, they play no part in the conflict, do we ask the most important question, do these people not have rights, of course these low tech powder bombs make look pathetic, but they are indeed a weapongof very basic design, but in saying that they did indeed cause mass distruction, if a person planted 50 granades in a crowded area, I would have to take the view he used a weapon of mass distruction, even if the tech side came from the Napoleonic period, it’s still what is was, and indiscriminate weapon of mass distruction amied at anyone there at the time. 2X wrong does not make 1X right.

  4. C H Ingoldby

    Blaming the RAF for a man’s bad tomato crop.

    That’s pretty much all I need to read to know that paranoid conspiracy bollocks is to follow.

  5. The luftwaffer did a good job on the green houses during the second world war, poor tomatos must have died of fright when the glass came in.

  6. I like that story of the 109, tenth of a second to late, got his tail shot off,
    bailed out landed on a green house the geraniuns didn’t seem to like him
    he got a cane up his arse.