OPCW findings regarding Douma nerve gas attack: Grim reading for Western ideologues
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.
Published time: 11 Jul, 2018 14:49
Edited time: 12 Jul, 2018 07:47
© Yves Herman / Reuters
“One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived,” Niccolo Machiavelli wrote.
The famed Renaissance-era philosopher’s sage words describe to a tee the allegation that Syrian forces attacked the city of Douma, 10km northeast of Damascus, with nerve gas on April 7, 2018.
Even more seriously, not to mention condemnatory, is the way this lie – fashioned by Salafi-jihadist extremists, who at the time were struggling to hang on in a part of the country they’d been occupying for the best part of seven years in the face of a determined campaign by the Syrian Arab Army with Russian support to liberate it – was allowed to take the West on a collision course with Russia, when the Trump administration, supported by France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Theresa May, decided to launch a missile strike against Syria on the back of it.
Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 has the world come so close to WWIII as it did then. And it was only down to astute leadership in Moscow, the willingness of the Russian government to accept a temporary loss of face in refusing to respond to what was an act of naked aggression by Washington and its allies, that disaster was averted.
The findings of the OPCW’s interim report, produced on the back of its on-site investigation into allegations that a nerve gas attack took place in Douma on April 7, make grim reading for the army of morally bereft Western ideologues and their apologists who’ve made a career out of defending the indefensible. Or at least, that is, they should make grim reading.
“The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products [emphasis added] were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties.”
When Churchill opined, as only a dyed-in-the-wool imperialist such as he was could, that, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies,” he penetrated the fog of obfuscation and propaganda that has always been employed to confuse the public mind over the unending wars of conquest and domination unleashed by the West in the course of its blood-soaked history.
When it comes to Syria, those lies have been legion, framed in such a way as to make that which is unreal appear real and that which is real appear unreal. We have thus been invited over the years of this brutal conflict to believe that bands of Western backed religious sectarian fanatics – intent on the mass slaughter, enslavement, and extirpation of a non-sectarian secular society – are actually Jefferson democrats in disguise, fighting oppression in the name of liberty. We have been asked to accept that those fighting and dying to prevent Syria entering the abyss are evil while those fighting to push Syria into the abyss are virtuous.
It is interesting to ponder at this juncture how for neocons and assorted other regime-change Western extremists the world is reduced to a giant chessboard upon which non-Western nations, governments and peoples are no more than pieces to be moved around, removed and replaced at their whim. It suggests a Manichean worldview that has been lifted from those old B Western Hollywood movies – a cultural fare which has supplanted reality in the minds of people intoxicated with a sense of their own exceptionalism.
This exceptionalism has wrought, over the decades in which Western hegemony has held sway, more chaos, mayhem, carnage, and dislocation than any number of natural disasters.
It is why, just as the conflict in Vietnam was more than the sum of its parts in terms of its wider significance and importance, so it is with the conflict that’s been raging in Syria in our time. This conflict is not and has never been primarily a civil war, or even a regional war. It has been and remains primarily an anti-imperialist struggle with the outcome assuming world-historical importance as a consequence. And, to be sure, this outcome is reflected in the vast ocean of propaganda, lies, untruths, and distortion that has been unleashed in support of regime change and military intervention.
Never mind the former Yugoslavia, never mind Iraq, and never mind Libya; the ease with which this propaganda machine rolls on from one country and society, destroyed under its tracks, to the next is redolent of a beast whose appetite for domination is completely insatiable.
Thus in Syria, this beast is being slayed not only in the interests of a Syrian people whose suffering and sacrifice has been inordinate – supported by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah in an example of internationalism which in the last analysis is the only antidote to Western hegemony capable of breaking its asphyxiating grip militarily, economically, culturally, and geopolitically. It is also being slayed in the interests of a world suffering under the dead weight of a Pax Americana which for far too long has gone unchallenged.
Douma will forever stand as a milestone in the moral degeneracy of those handsomely remunerated champions of regime change who colonize the opinion columns of mainstream newspapers, the vast network of neoconservative think tanks made up of privately educated cranks and crackpots whose dishonesty is only exceeded by their mendacity, and those who occupy the corridors of power in Western capitals.
They are the very people Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”