Tuesday, 09 June 2015

Orwellian Doublethink in the War on Terrorism

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The war on terrorism, which the United States has been waging since 2001, is a failure for a myriad of reasons, but chiefly because it is a farce. Set aside the idiocy of waging war on a tactic; the war on terrorism creates terrorism by arming, training, and funding militant Islamists.

A case in point is the revolving-door policy of the United States regarding who is a terrorist and who is an ally.

In Syria the narrative has shifted so dramatically that it resembles the "double-think" of Big Brother's state in Geoge Orwell's novel 1984. The United States declared al-Qaeda a terrorist organization in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — ostensibly to defeat al-Qaeda — before switching gears in 2012 and declaring them to be allies in the fight against terrorism in Syria. The purpose: to bring down Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Of course, that was before the militants formerly known as al-Qaeda became famous (or rather infamous) under the banner of ISIS. As acts of indiscriminate torture and terror — including videotaped beheadings — became everyday news, ISIS was suddenly not an ally, but a terrorist organization again. The New American's Alex Newman has reported on U.S. involvement in the transition from al-Qaeda to ISIS as well as U.S. support of ISIS.

Assad is still considered an enemy (at least as of this writing), but the newest narrative of his evildoing is that he now supposedly supports ISIS — the very terrorist organization the United States helped create to bring him down. In this case it appears that the enemy of our enemy is still our enemy, but we accuse them of befriending each other in order to justify our heavy-handed involvement.

According to a New York Times  article last week, "Islamic State militants are marching across northern Syria toward Aleppo, Syria's largest city, helped along, their opponents say, by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad." And Slate reported that the United States is accusing Assad of "not just allowing but helping ISIS's spread throughout Syria" by bombing positions held by anti-Assad forces as they were being attacked by ISIS, "helping ISIS's advance."

In this propaganda war, the U.S. Embassy in Syria took to Twitter to spread the word that the narrative has changed. In a series of tweets on June 1 from the embassy's official Twitter account, Assad was accused of doing exactly what the United States and others in the West have done: supporting ISIS (which is also known as ISIL in Syria). A short sampling of those tweets includes the full range of accusations:

As we have long said, Bashar al #Asad lost legitimacy long ago and will never be an effective counterterrorism partner. #Syria #ISIL

We have long seen that the #Asad regime avoids #ISIL lines, in complete contradiction to the regime's claims to be fighting ISIL. #Syria

With these latest reports, #Asad is not only avoiding #ISIL lines, but, actively seeking to bolster their positon. #Syria

Reports indicate that the regime is making air-strikes in support of #ISIL's advance on #Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population

It is obvious that the propaganda is aimed at influencing voters and activists in the West. With a recently released (though heavily redacted) intelligence report from 2012 showing that the United States and Western allies joined forces with al-Qaeda and that al-Qaeda then morphed into ISIS, it's time to shift the blame and invoke double-think. In fact, the United States even considered Assad an ally in the war on terrorism at one time, and we have certainly considered al-Qaeda a perpetrator of terrorism — then an ally — now again a perpetrator of terrorism. Who knows where the cycle will end?

According to a report by The Guardian,

A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren't only supporting and arming an opposition they knew to be dominated by extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of "Islamic state" — despite the "grave danger" to Iraq's unity — as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria.

The "extreme sectarian group" that dominated the opposition to Assad is ISIS/al-Qaeda, which does indeed intend to build an Islamic state on the ruins of Assad's administration.

One question that should be asked is, "What moral high-ground do U.S. officials and their western allies have on which to stand when they condemn Assad for allegedly supporting ISIS/al-Qaeda?" After all, we were for the militant Islamists before we were against them. In fact, as the article in The Guardian explains, the London trial of a Swedish man charged with terrorism in Syria "collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting." So even if it were true that Assad is supporting the terrorists who want to topple his government and depose him, what business does either the United States or Britain have in getting involved?

One thing is certain: ISIS/al-Qaeda and Assad are not allies. ISIS has done all it can to topple Assad and bring about an Islamic State. ISIS has no interest in keeping Assad in power, and he has no interest in helping ISIS depose him. Building up the terrorist organizations that are trying to destroy you is not a trait of Syrians. That's an American custom.

As long as the "war on terrorism" is conducted as a dishonest comedy of "errors," it will remain an abysmal failure. And the real fruit will be more terrorism and less liberty.

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