Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials - 11 April 2018

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11 April 2018

It feels as if history is repeating itself.  15 years ago, acting as Bush's poodle in Downing Street, Blair sent British troops into the most devastating, pointless war of aggression since Vietnam.  On fake pretexts, Iraq was invaded and destroyed.  Its population still has to recover from this bloodbath.
    Today, it is Trump instead of Bush and Theresa May instead of Blair.  But what else has changed?  May stands to attention whenever Trump tweets against the Syrian regime, wagging her tail in a frantic attempt to remain in the US good books.
    There is a difference, though.  In 2003, Bush wanted to reassert the imperialist order in the Middle East and Blair jumped on his bloody bandwagon to preserve the profits of British capital in the region.  That was sordid enough.
    But this time round, Trump is primarily trying to divert voters' attention from the growing list of scandals, sexual and otherwise, in which he is in deep up to his neck.  As to May, her primary concern is to contain the increasingly rancourous opposition of her party's disgruntled Brexiteers, by offering them a suitable scapegoat - first it was the Russian regime and now it’s the Syrian.

When criminals lay down the law

Whether or not chemical weapons were used in the Eastern Ghouta enclave of Syria and if so, by whom, no-one can really be sure.  The area is still partly controlled by a rebel fundamentalist militia, with outside support.  But the long record of false accusations and fake news coming from western powers to justify criminal policies in the Middle East should be enough to put their claims into question.
    But, whatever the case may be, the unanimous furore among western leaders smacks of the crassest hypocrisy.  With their long and bloody record of butchering and bombing and using drones against so many poor populations, they dare to claim the high moral ground against Assad?
    Wasn't "Agent Orange" a chemical weapon, which was used extensively by the US army, causing atrocious deaths and catastrophic destruction of the jungle’s vegetation during the Vietnam war?  And what about the depleted uranium contained in the shells used by the invaders of Iraq?  It may not be classified as a chemical weapon - but not only did it poison the blood of those exposed, but it is now known to have caused countless birth deformities!  As to the British-made cluster bombs used by May's Saudi Arabian business partners to carpet-bomb the population of Yemen, they aren't chemical weapons, but they kill and maim with the same lethal effectiveness as the chlorine or sarin gases which are supposed to have been dropped over Eastern Ghouta!
    Yes, these are just war criminals pretending to lay down the law against one of their peers!

Stoking up a powder keg

But the criminal hypocrisy of western powers goes even further, since, after all, they themselves bear a large part of the responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of deaths of the Syrian civil war.
    How could we forget that it was their policy which populated Syria with a galaxy of rival, fundamentalist militias?  Wasn't Islamic State a direct by-product of the Iraq war?  As to the Syrian Islamic militias themselves, aren’t they funded and armed by the western powers or their regional allies?  And, wasn't the western powers' support for these militias aimed at causing "regime change" in Syria, in order to get rid of a dictator who, like Saddam Hussein, was not being pliable enough for their liking?
    Not only are the rich imperialist powers directly responsible for the human catastrophe of the Syrian civil war, but they have presided over the transformation of the Syrian crisis into a bloody free-for-all, in which a long list of foreign powers now feel at liberty to "put boots on the ground" and/or bomb whichever target they want.
    So while Trump, May and their western sidekicks blame Assad - and, by implication Russia and Iran - for all the crimes committed in Syria, they say nothing about Turkey‘s sending of troops or its bombing of North Syria, nor about the bombing carried out this week by the Israeli air force.  Meanwhile, British, US, French and other special forces are in Syria, not just to play cards, but to do what they are trained for - war!
    These western leaders turned moralists, all have the blood of the Syrian people on their hands.  Yet this doesn't stop May from daring to use the anti-Assad card - just as she used the anti-Russian card earlier and still does, in her domestic political games, for the sake of boosting her petty career.
    As the saying goes, history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce - and then again as tragedy.  In any case, it is in the interest of the working class to stop this bloody escalation before it's too late!