This Bombardment of Syria Clichés Shows No Sign of Stopping

Politicians all around the world discuss war with the very tiredest of language – Published on The Independent (also on ZNet), by Robert Fisk, September 5, 2013.

… And get this. Obama is not asking America to go to war, but to “degrade and deter” Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons. We first got “degrade” in the 1991 Gulf war, then we got it again when Nato fired weapons at Milosovic’s chums in Serbia (targets, you may remember, that included a TV station, an express train and a hospital). And “the costs of inaction are greater and graver still” – this from Democratic chairman of the Senate committee, Robert Menendez. But is this true?

When Saddam used gas against the Kurds of Halabjah, the US did not see this as a ‘grave cost’ to the nation. Indeed, it waited years before condemning it because Saddam was our mate at the time.

But it goes on and on across the pond, Nancy Pelosi talking about that ‘red line’ again and, of course, “all options are on the table” – I have no idea who invented that old donkey – but the Middle East potentates are not beyond a dip in the cliché pond. We had Assad himself warning for the umpteenth time that the “powder keg” of the region may explode, that “chaos and extremism” may spread. The condemnation of ‘extremism’ is par for the course nowadays and surely qualifies Assad for American citizenship.

Then up pops – in Beirut – the chairman of the Iranian parliamentary committee for national security, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, announcing that a US attack would “engulf the entire region”. Which, as I’ve said before, doesn’t let the Syrian government off the hook for chemical weapons attacks. But so far we’ve had to rely on those famous “intelligence officials” for the details, the same lads and lassies who told us about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but failed to spot the noisy clues that were on their desks about 19 Arabs who planned to fly aircraft into tall buildings 12 years ago.

And all the while, hovering over the horizon is that mysterious missile which Israel fired over the Mediterranean on Tuesday in a “joint exercise” with the US. It was the Russians who broke the story, of course. But why was that missile fired now, at this exact moment, when the Syrian regime expects Cruise missiles to come flying in? It was fired to assess Israel’s missile defences, according to the Pentagon. But defences against who? Hezbollah? Hamas? Syria? Iran? Well, it proves one thing. If Obama goes ahead, we’ll have the Russians to give us a running commentary. But please, no clichés.
(full text).

Links – Found on Spiegel Online International:

10 Photos in the Gallery: The ‘Standing Man’ of Taksim Square, Sept 5, 2013;

Detroit, Germany: Study Warns of Ongoing Depopulation Trend, by David Böcking, September 05, 2013 (15 Photo in the Gallery): Rents in many large German cities are too high, but in some towns vacancies are rampant. A new study warns that if these developments continue, many cities could end up looking like Detroit. Long lines, desperate renters: Those who have tried to find an apartment in Munich or Hamburg are familiar with the challenge. It is almost impossible to find a place to live in those cities;
2 related articles: shortage of affordable apartments Towns … have long been experiencing falling populations as younger residents head to cities for study and work. Many mid-sized cities in Germany have long since begun doing what they can to get rid of excess housing;

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

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