Although I’ve never been to Syria, and can’t claim to be an expert on their affairs by any measure, I feel obliged to comment on the current situation, for three reasons: 1) The recent massacre(s) rise, in my opinion, to a standard of universal evil and should be condemned immediately. 2) The situation in Syria has direct implications and ramifications for US policy, and the ongoing efforts being waged in the United States to redirect the thrust of these policies away from the prevailing modes of industrialized warfare that we’ve seen to such devastating effect in this century so far. 3) The situation, and adjacent matters, do touch on some points of great relevance for all of us, regardless of whatever particular feelings one may have for Bashar Assad and his so-called “resistance”.
I say “so-called” not out of disrespect for their cause, because it’s one I generally support: neutralization or nullification of despotic regimes. No matter who you are, or who you’re connected to, mass-murder of your own civilians on-camera is mad-dog action, and the “Old Yeller” solution comes into play at that point. We saw that last year with Qaddafi, whose grisly death was the result of cooperation of multiple governments, intelligence agencies and military/para-military assets. It turned, ultimately, on a Judas Goat in Qaddafi’s own camp–he trusted someone who sold him out, just like Saddam did, and he got lynched for it, just like Saddam did. And hey, bravo–that’s the business.
The rat-fink who gave up Qaddafi was, one presumes, at cross-purposes, like most traitors are. To sell out your benefactor is cold-blooded–a compromise of the soul that usually guarantees a similar end. (Insert NKVD joke here.) It wasn’t just the money, but self-preservation, because Qaddafi had himself already crossed the point of basic decency or sanity. Even by his own standards, he’d gone too far, and he had to go before he brought down the whole thing. That is the position being faced now by Syrian insiders who saw what happened the other day and recognize the potential for–indeed, the certainty of–lethal blowback. Methods evolve to suit the purpose, and the Syrian resistance understands now that failure probably means death for all of them.
The tragic subtext is that had the international community levied real consequences for the blatant assassination of Rafik Hariri and dozens of innocent bystanders on Valentine’s Day 2005 (a massacre that even Al Capone would balk at), the 108 bodies laid out in mass-graves across America’s TV screens would still be animated. Collectively, two thousand years of unlived life were snuffed out in a couple of hours, and the atrocity will probably be repeated any day now.
Assad could have just let up, had some rigged elections and claimed a narrow mandate for the status quo, but instead chose to escalate. If he didn’t order the killing of all those women and children and harmless unarmed civilians, then he should be serving up the bodies of those who did as blatantly as they butchered those people in front of the entire world. The notion of a globalized, comprehensive revolution directed by unknown forces for unknown ends may or may not be true, but what is indisputable is that Bashar Assad’s termination will likely precede that of the Mayan Long Count calendar. And when it happens, expect an inside job.