Friday, 30 August 2013

World War III averted: Ed Miliband finally does his job

Yesterday, Ed Miliband pulled his big-boy underpants over his trousers and rose to new adequacies by actually doing what the electorate has been yelling for loud and clear all along: NO WAR WITH SYRIA. He slew the Cameron lizards in the parliamentary vote and carved out a space for the pursuit of a peaceful solution.

There is no proof that hereditary despot Basher Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, killing hundreds of men women and lots of children. It would be suicidal (and nuts) if he did this just as inspectors arrive and Obama warms up for war. I would have to see the polaroids to believe he did it, and not the opposition fundies who'd stop at nothing to repeat NATO operations in Iraq and Libya, dislodging secular tyrants only to be replaced by mayhem with no end in sight. After all, UN reports say the Syrian rebels carried out a Sarin nerve gas attack earlier this year, only revealed at the 11th hour when we were tooling up for conflict. Even weirder that Al Qaeda nemesis Israel stepped in to do the job right this time by claiming the government carried out recent poison attack.

Let's suppose it does emerge that Cameron's "likelihood" is a dead cert and Assad did indeed do it. What good is bombing? "Hulk smash!" mode is for ten-year olds, not world leaders. Turning a disastrous situation into a calamity and piling atrocity on atrocity in a geopolitical layer cake of horrors is not the way to solve anything. How would we like it if a bigger power bombed, say, Westminster? OK, fantasies about Guy Fawkes notwithstanding, the reality would be horrific. Killing civilians and traumatising the rest is a war crime that only adds to these people's misery. There has to be another way with Russia, China and the Arab League doing something useful. There are other pressures that can be brought to bear through economic, trade and cultural means.

If we were serious about chemical warfare, we'd stop selling nerve gas components such as sodium fluoride, not only an innocent toothpaste ingredient. And how about America compensating the people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia who are still dying decades after the US drenched their forests with Agent Orange herbicides? Or Bhopal where Dow Chemicals refuses to clear up the mess made by Union Carbide Corp — the parent company of Union Carbide India at the time of the disaster — which Dow bought with all the benefits and none of the responsibilities? The CIA helped Saddam Hussein use mustard gas and sarin on Iranians in 1988 when he was our boy. America's depleted uranium used in the Gulf and Iraq wars is still killing but nothing is being done about it. Then there are the cluster bombs and phosphorous and the nuclear ...

The hypocrisy is amazing. This time the British public has seen through the NATO agenda of cutting a swathe through the world and reshaping it into a New World Order of their liking.

Apart from the big question — who used chemical warfare against Syrian civilians? — there are two more I'd like answered:

1) Who were the 30 Labour MPs who stayed away from last night's vote?

2) Remembering the parliamentary vote that effectively privatised the NHS, plus Halliburton and J P Morgan's profits from the Iraq war, how many of the war cheerleaders have investments in arms companies?

Ed may have fudged too many issues, but today there is palpable relief that we aren't repeating Tony Blair's war crimes. Is this is how our forebears felt after the Bay of Pigs Crisis? The world did not end. For now.

EDIT: When you play "Risk", the board game, you reach a stage where several players have a ton of armies. No-one want to take on the one with the most armies so you work round it, picking off their weaker territories and allies. Robert Fisk points out that the US's real target in the region is Iran before it stabilises under the promising new president. To do that it has to exhaust the munitions of their chief supporter — Syria. (Assad seems to be winning its fight against the rebels.) Hence the rush to war.

Basher in The Onion telling it like it is.

Not about oil, then. Transnational energy corporations represented as Saudis join Israel, France and US in Syria clusterfuck.

Even the US army "in doubt" about an attack.

An interesting gender take at Open Democracy on weaponry and patriarchy.

Ministry: New World Order

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