The innate common sense of the British people, who still reveal flashes of the qualities that made them masters of three-fourths of the world not very long ago, has prevented United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron from following his United States and French counterparts in sending missiles and bombs into Syria in order to “protect civilians”. Especially since the 2005 (George W. Bush-era) finding by a complicit United Nations Security Council of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, the member-states of NATO have used their considerable firepower to “protect civilians” by the somewhat unorthodox method of bombing them to bits.
Since 2001, in Afghanistan and more so in Iraq, many more civilians have been killed by Nato fire as have died in Syria since 2011. In that country as well, it is the supply of arms and money by proxies of Nato, which has led directly to the present carnage. However, in their zeal to ensure “freedom of the press,” Nato-based news outlets generously place only 99% of the blame on those identified as foes by the alliance’s home governments. The balance 1% is of course caused by “accidents” and by “faulty information”.
What is the difference between the “collateral damage” caused by Syrian military actions against a well-armed opposition that are being shown daily by the BBC or the CNN, and the tens of thousands of deaths which have been caused by Nato bombing in a slew of countries, including Mali, where hundreds have died unreported on, after France sent in its military to “quell a terrorist threat”. If in the past, it was patriotism that became the last refuge of scoundrels, these days it is the “War on Terror” that has become a convenient excuse for the use of brute force against entire populations. Given the reality that they are still largely under the control of Nato member-states, it is small wonder that neither Baghdad or Kabul have released to the public details of the immense death and human suffering caused by the militaries of their presumed allies.
NATO’s considerable firepower is used to “protect civilians” by the somewhat unorthodox method of bombing them to bits.
Take two most recent examples of intervention, one where it took place and the other where the alliance was unable to enforce its will, Libya and Egypt. In Libya, effective control of the country has fallen into the hands of armed gangs, who are busy extorting money and murdering their foes. In Egypt, had the military heeded the counsel of Nato and once again allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to enter into the highest levels of governance, that country would have lost its best chance of attaining stability. It was because General Al Sissi rejected the overlordship of Washington and Brussels that his men have been enabled to ensure that Egypt remain a moderate and secular state, rather than become another Libya or the “liberated zones” of Syria, where Christians, moderate Sunnis and the Shia have been largely driven out by a campaign of intimidation reminiscent of the way in which the Pandit community was forced to leave the Kashmir Valley during 1989-91.
It is with some sadness that we witness the transformation of Barack Obama into a combination of George W. Bush and John McCain. According to his friend David Cameron, another follower of Rudyard Kipling, it is “80% certain” that it was Bashar Assad, who released chemical weapons on the civilian population in a suburb of Damascus on 21 August, just when a team of UN chemical weapons inspectors arrived. Certainly the French, the British and their US counterparts will ensure that the report of the UN team gets divested of the obvious, which is that the pipe rockets in which the chemicals were delivered are those used by the rebels, and that the chemicals used are those easily mixed together out of fertiliser, insecticide and other such toxic but common substances. Obama, Francois Hollande and Cameron want some excuse to bomb Syria, and mere facts are not going to stand in the way of at least the first two.
Once the bombs fall, the member states of Nato will join Israel in becoming the targets of Shia terror groups. However, given the Doctrine of Immunity, which surrounds Nato actions (and which in India has ensured that two marines, who shot and killed innocent fishermen, are lounging in luxury at the Italian embassy rather than in jail), don’t hold your breath expecting any accountability for the regional chaos that will descend along with the bombs and missiles.