Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pearls of expression.

To the Mahatma [Mehdi Hasan, author of a piece critical of Bashar al-Assad], . . . all that matters in the evaluation of Assad’s political orientation is whether the methods Damascus has used to defend the gains it has made in the direction of asserting its right to equality and sovereignty are methods that that are suitable to a State in periods of stability, normalcy and safety. It’s as if what Hasan deplores about a war cabinet, for example, is not the war that made the war cabinet necessary, but the very fact that a war cabinet was created in response to it, as if carrying on in the regular manner could somehow make the war go away.[1]
This kind of skewed criticism of Assad, who controls the flight path of every sparrow in Syria, is visible in the mantra that he "enjoys bombing/gassing his own people" and that his forces employ "barrel bombs," as though the shape, effect, payload, method of manufacture, delivery vehicle, and aerodynamic characteristics of "barrel bombs" are such as to envelope them in a mantle of unique depravity. Far better to be blown to pieces by a sleek, aesthetically-pleasing, canister of steel and ball bearings manufactured in places where there are ample parking and an employee cafeteria.

Too, as Mr. Gowan points out, bombing urban areas in time of peace would make no sense whatsoever but it does in time of war, no matter how much it vexes Mr. Hasan. Bombarding civilian areas is inevitably carried out by contending powers who are intent on prevailing in any deadly contest. The U.S. Army held nothing back, for example, in its bombardment[2] of Raqqah, Syria, in its effort to defeat ISIS forces therein, though its subsequent kindhearted efforts to lead ISIS forces to safety upon their departure from Raqqah strike me as odd, to say the least.

[1] "Mehdi Hasan, beautiful soul, and his diatribe against the consequential Left." By Stephen Gowans, 4/21/18.
[2] 20,000 bombs on Raqqa, 80% of the city uninhabitable, and 1,400 civilian deaths from coalition air and artillery bombardment. "US air wars under Trump: increasingly indiscriminate, increasingly opaque." By Julian Borger, The Guardian, 1/23/18.

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