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Linda LeTendre's Waging Peace
by Linda LeTendre

Waging Peace

A Daily Gazette community blog
Linda LeTendre fights for a peaceful world.

On Syria: We have heard all this bull before

As President Obama (“O-bomber” as he is not so affectionately referred to in the peace community) plans to bomb Syria, a country that has not attacked us, he is trying to convince Congress of the necessity of doing this by enlisting the help of his top campaign advisors. An odd group of people to consult. I should think he would call in experts in the Middle East, foreign policy and international law -- not experts in marketing.

I guess if you want your charade of getting Congress' permission to start yet another war to succeed you better have the Madison Avenue mentality on your side. Let's face it, even if Congress does not give Obama the go ahead to bomb Syria, he'll do it anyway. We surrendered that power to presidents decades ago with little more than lip service to its constitutionality.

This whole episode reminds me of a scene from "The Simpsons" where Bart is looking through a “Where's Waldo” book and Waldo is standing on a beach by himself.

“Geeze,” intones Bart, “They're not even trying anymore.”

They're not even trying anymore. They're just selling.

Bombing Syria for using chemical weapons? Where's the proof that the Syrian government actually used them and not another group that should be held accountable? How about an international investigation to get the facts first? (aka “The Rule of Law”).

Do we know who sold these weapons to Syria? There is some evidence that Israel may have, but without an investigation we will not know if this is in fact the case and the US government certainly would not want that fact known if it were true. Another reason to bomb and not ask questions later.

What about the US government's own stockpile of Sarin gas? What about the Agent Orange we used in Vietnam? What about the depleted uranium we used and continue to use in Iraq? How about the white phosphorus we supported the Israelis using against the Palestinians. And let us not forget the atomic bombs we released on almost half a million people in Japan in 1945 -- the largest single chemical attack against civilians in history. The US has precious little room to make any threats to Syria over chemical warfare even if it turned out to be true that the Syrian government gassed its own citizens.

Why would you risk killing more innocent people by trying to kill the people you think might have killed innocent people in the first place? According to local immigrants from Syria, the people of Syria are frightened to their core of an American bombing. They know it means more than losing their lives and homes. They know it means an occupation of their country by our heavily armed forces with no end in sight.

And in light of the fact that we were lied to to get into the Iraq Wwar as well as the Vietnam War (for those of us old enough to remember that one) by the US government, why would we start believing their stories now? An even cursory look at history would have us believe otherwise. You know the old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Then in this “Circus of the Macabre” we have senators McCain (who got caught playing video poker during the Senate hearings on bombing Syria, obviously he's taking this very seriously) and Graham saying that they would only support a large scale war in Syria -- after they voted against help for Hurricane Sandy because it was “too expensive.”

Right, government financial assistance to victims of a hurricane will not generate as much to corporate profits as funding a war will. Raytheon's stock has jumped 20 percent in the last few days since the news of this latest war broke. You don't want to know what Halliburton's stock has done since 9/11 in the military-iIndustrial-congressional-surveillance state complex. Their profits are obscene not only in terms of shear volume but in the cost of irreplaceable lives as well. US citizens cannot afford another war but Halliburton, Raytheon, GE and Martin-Marietta sure can.

Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike (therein lies a good part of the problem), also stand to make a bundle off this latest state sanctioned mass killing. Read peter Schweizer's book, “Throw Them All Out.” It's about how our elected representatives in Congress get rich off of their connections to large corporations, insider trading, land deals, etc that would land the rest of us in prison for a good long time.

“There's plenty a money to be made supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,” as the line from the 60's song “I Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die” goes. For the whole song click here. Even after 40-plus years it is still relevant. (Warning “graphic language” as opposed to graphic horror to which we have become inured thanks to our never-ending wars on other people.)

My experiences recently in witnessing against this latest war leads me to believe that the American public does not want to bomb Syria. After almost a decade of standing out in public with my peace signs I've become versed in “Honk-ology”: that is telling the difference between a friendly car horn and a belligerent one. A week ago Saturday, in more than four hours of standing out witnessing against getting into this war, I counted only one nasty horn out of hundreds. There are petitions galore against this war out on the Internet. Dozens of organizations have websites with talking points and links to Congress to make it easier for citizens to lobby against war with Syria. A quick Internet search will bring up the links to several.

Even with the American public united as “Dead Set Against Bombing Syria” (a bright spot to be sure), I am not hopeful that we'll be able to stop it. There is simply too much money to be made by corporations and politicians alike. And certainly let's not forget “The 1%” who will get even richer.
When the insurance companies were in trouble eight or nine years ago Congress received a record number of calls from American citizens, the most in history in fact, telling them 100 to 1 not to bail out these companies. 100 to 1.

But given that by then we had become a government of corporations; Congress voted to give them several billions in taxpayer dollars in spite of the massive outcry to the contrary by American citizens. We could go hang ourselves. Let's face it, with very few exceptions, corporations ARE the US government; they don't even have to lobby anymore.

In spite of the odds (or should I say the “dollars”) stacked against us we still have the moral imperative to try to head off the bombing of Syria.

The other bright spot I have found was young people, high school age, organizing witnesses against bombing Syria. The Sunday Gazette did a great story on the peace demonstration organized by Emily Costa of Schenectady High School. The students had some really clever signs and visuals.

It is hopeful that they're catching on so fast and getting involved.

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