If you have been watching the news and reading the dead tree press in recent days, you may have thought to yourself ‘Is there suddenly a lot more Syrian humanitarian disaster stories?’.
Don’t worry, you’re not imagining it. The media really is being flooded with emotive, distressing and heart-string tugging stories. Following the defeated motion seeking to authorise intervention in Syria, the powers that be have pushed for a concerted – and very one sided – campaign of media coverage of the impacts of war on ordinary people opposed to the al-Assad regime, while giving the impression of an escalation in the conflict.
This is the media playing its role as part of the establishment, supporting the government’s agenda in disgraceful manner and trying to make people regret their opposition to military action. They know all too well it would take a heart of stone not to see the broken and burned bodies in hospital bed and the tide of humanity that has swept across borders in search of refuge, and not be moved to tears and wish for something to be done to end that suffering immediately. That’s the power of the media. We can be certain that some people who last week stood opposed to missile strikes against al-Assad’s forces, have since had second thoughts and wish the motion had passed, as a direct result of this propaganda flooding the news outlets. Exactly what this media blitz intended to achieve.
But think for a moment about what we do not see.
Where is the footage of broken and burned bodies of people from the part of the Syrian population that supports al-Assad and who are under equally devastating attack by the rebels and Al Qaeda? Where is the discussion of arms caches and the foreign fighters who have rushed into Syria to carry out violent jihad? Where is the footage of the shiny stockpiles of Saudi and Qatari funded weaponary that has flooded into Syria as part of the effort to topple al-Assad? Ask yourself why. Ask yourself if you are really being presented with the full picture.
The media is helping the government to paint the conflict as a one-sided slaughter of innocents by a brutal dictator – in effect to paint it as a genocide – when the reality is the rebels control most of the country and have carried out terrible atrocities of their own. Such is the evil of war, But through such imbalance and bias by omission, the media is supporting tactics to change people’s minds and convert them to supporting the hidden agenda that is driving the desire for intervention. This is the plan to justify the desired military action.
But think about what has not changed.
There is still only ‘confidence’ and ‘high probability’ – not absolute certainty – that the chemical weapons were used by the al-Assad regime. Many stories are circulating, with information that has apparently come from people in Damascus who survived the ‘attack’, say that the weapons had been supplied by Saudi Arabia and were in rebel hands when detonated accidentally. We have no way of knowing for sure. A significant doubt of the US and UK’s ‘proof’ exists.
Most importantly, there is still only the intention of punishing al-Assad but no idea of the outcome or effects of military action. This alone should preclude us from getting involved, because there is a significant capacity for harming the very people the military would supposedly be seeking to protect. And of course the spectre of Al Qaeda is not going to go away. It takes a special kind of insanity to want to launch an action that could significantly enhance the prospects of Al Qaeda emerging stronger and more capable of terrorism once Syria has calmed down.
A US or French or UK action has but one purpose, helping the rebels to defeat al-Assad. Our government has picked a side and is using the chemical weapon incident as justification for direct involvement using force of arms, rather than providing humanitarian assistance. There are plenty of conspiracy theories about this desire to be involved, and some very plausible analysis that aims to connect the dots to construct an explanation for it. Whether they are right or wrong, there is an agenda at play at it has nothing to do with humanitarian considerations. As such we should have no part in it.