Do No Harm

Iraq is the same dictatorial disaster it was under Saddam…plus endless non-government terror. Palestinian repression is a deep stain on the integrity of America. Somalia and Afghanistan are, by comparison with their circumstances two generations ago, destroyed societies. Saudi Arabia is on a domestic knife-edge. Iran, victim of an undeclared war by the U.S., is being terrorized, marginalized, and radicalized. Ironically, Israel, “victim” of a flood of thoughtless U.S. military aid and blind support for whatever ambitious politician happens to get elected, is also being terrorized, marginalized, and radicalized. The record of U.S. intervention in the Muslim world is one of incomprehension, immorality, arrogance, and self-defeating short-sightedness. But despair not! We have new opportunities in Yemen and Syria.

As for that new opportunity, Syria, it is surely clear that there are bad guys in Syria and it is obvious that those bad guys are backed by powerful organizations. It is only logical to assume that there are also many decent people being mistreated. Obama’s pathetic philosophy notwithstanding, a Muslim does not deserve to be killed just because that Muslim happens to be an adult male. What is not clear is whether or not any “good” organizations exist and merit support.

Given the record of U.S. influence over Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, etc., it is also clear that the likelihood of Washington decision-makers correctly identifying an organization in Syria that might merit diplomatic, economic, or military support is very small.

It is no doubt useful to point out the evil being done by various Syrian politicians, though one must be careful to point out such evil regardless of which side is doing it (and few reports have such balance). But at this point, would it not be more valuable to lay out any argument that may exist to justify making a commitment to support those we think might possibly deserve our help? And if no such candidate can be identified, then the proper course of action lies elsewhere.

“Do no harm” should be the default course of action, especially for elephants. The burden of proof lies on those Westerners who presume to have the wisdom to interfere in Muslim societies and make things better.

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2 comments on “Do No Harm

  1. You seem to presume that USA imperialism goals regarding all countries you have listed (with exception of Israel) is to “help”. From such POV USA surely does not achieve more. But if one looks from another angle, i.e. anti-imperialist one, it is clear that USA imperialism never ever wanted anything else but the domination over all its victims – from Afghanistan to Libya and Syria. If sometimes USA imperialism could not achieve its goal of destruction of every force for independence from USA imperialism, it is not for the lack of trying.

    In short, Obama is NOT going to “help” Syria, he wants to harm Iran and to protect Israel, and if Syrians are mass-murdered and Syria being ruined in the process, too bad.

    Of course, Cole is the faithful servant and defender of USA imperialist crimes, even though sometimes he pretends to criticise some details – both because his goal is to dupe “progressive” Americans and to help the same imperialist crimes to be done more “cleverly”. Of course, Cole supports NATO/GCC criminal covert war against Syria, not because Assad is “dictator”, but because he is not 100% lackey of USA. Cole has no qualms whatsoever with dictators friendly to USA.

    Of course, I was banned in Cole blog long ago, because I dared to point to his lies and gross inhumanity. Cole blasted Assad for bombing Hula (it turned not to be as he presented it), but had defended the USA occupation army ruination of Falluja as “lawful” – kid you not.

  2. I do indeed sometimes write from the perspective of assuming that the intentions of U.S. decision-makers are good. First, no one really knows the intentions of anyone else, so it is somewhat presumptuous to assert that I know for a fact what the intentions of the whole group of decision-makers may be. Second, as an American, I cannot help but hope that my elected representatives are decent humans. That said, I admit: sometimes giving U.S. officials the benefit of the doubt is very difficult to do.

    To make the record clear on such events as the U.S. attack on Fallujah, the Russian attack on Grozniy, the Israeli attacks on Beirut in 1982 and 2006, I completely condemn these actions and feel that the leaders who ordered them should stand trial.

    As for Professor Cole, he has been a courageous critic of the failures of U.S. foreign policy. Had he been listened to, this country and the rest of the world would be in a far better situation than the one in which we all find ourselves.

    If I may offer a general comment on public discourse, criticism of actions, events, or statements is likely to be more effective than criticism of individuals, and such criticism should at least be supported by evidence and citations.

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