OP-ED: Spreading war: Kerry's gift to Syria

By Tom H. Hastings
Tom H. Hastings
Tom H. Hastings
The United States fancies itself as the shining light for freedom, as the power on Earth for good, spreading democracy. How does this factcheck?

We spent much of the 19th century spreading US hegemony in several directions, starting with owning slaves and stealing both native lands and Mexican lands, and, toward the end, invading and overthrowing governments in Central America. We only invaded Canada once.

We spent much of the 20th century making the world safe for democracy  whoops US corporations. Mostly, we won -- got rid of some threats to US interests who happened to be elected by their people but who were unfriendly to predatory capitalism. Mohammed Mossaddegh in Iran, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, Patrice Lumumba in Congo,Salvador Allende in Chile come to mind. These are the sorts of cases that make the world somewhat suspicious and of course the illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq based on two Big Lies feed into that mistrust.

Why, then, would the Obama administration, in the person of John Kerry, offer to assist the Free Syrian Army? It looks like it fits the pattern, the Yes-he's-a-son-of-a-bitch-but-he's-our-son-of-a-bitch routine, where we pick an armed thug or a bunch of them, give them weapons and training, and expect them to be US-corporate-friendly at the end of the day, plus providing war profiteers upfront profits immediately by grabbing US taxpayer money, shoveling it into the accounts of corporations. Which corporations? All corporations. Seriously.


Just a tiny example, only a couple of brief notes from just one day of Pentagon contracts, from Friday, March 1, only a select few:

  • Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Wayne, N.J., was issued a modification exercising the first option year on contract SPM2D0-12-D-0002/P00006.  The modification is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum $49,401,788 for various pharmaceutical products.
  • Tennier Industries*, Boca Raton, Fla., was awarded contract SPM1C1-13-D-1028.  The award is a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $15,551,438 for universal camouflage patterned jackets. 
  • Exide Technologies, Milton, Ga., was awarded contract SPM7LX-13-D-0029.  The award is a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $6,754,515 for procurement of storage batteries.
  • DLT Solutions, Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $23,212,706 firm-fixed-price contract (FA8771-13-F-8100) for procurement of software maintenance and support for perpetual enterprise Oracle software licenses. 
  • L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace L.L.C., Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $8,076.281 contractmodification (FA3002-09-C-0006, P00022) for aircraft flightline maintenance for the F-16 aircraft in support of Taiwan's F-16 program.


There were more, of course. I mean, when you are tasked with spending a half a $trillion each year, you need to keep it flowing out and flowing heavy in many directions. You'll hear nothing but dire threat complaining from the military about their budget, of course--if a general fails to kvetch they can find another who will.  Really, however, when will it finally become poor form to talk poor mouth with their mouths full?


Creating conflict, nurturing threat, all requires violence capacity-building, and John Kerry is fitting right into that groove right away. The results will be fabulous, no doubt. The contracts for more non lethal military aid to the Free Syrian Army will begin to appear in the DOD daily contract listings and already, just on the great news of Kerry's support, the FSA is promising to widen the war into Lebanon and, while they are at it, Iraq! Nice going, John! We've done so so much to help inflame hatred and violence between Shia and Sunni in Iraq and now you've helped spread that more assuredly and now violently into Syria and Lebanon--and doubling back on Iraq yet again. What a Secretary of State.


President Obama, are you paying any attention to John? There are Syrians who still believe in nonviolence, know how to wage a nonviolent campaign, and every time we pay attention and pay money to the violent rebels we make it all worse. You thought it couldn't get worse? It's about to, thanks to US help. State Department should be about spreading real democracy, about enlightenment, about reason and rational discourse and indigenous decision, not about military aid to the least worst armed bunch.



* * * 

Dr. Tom H. Hastings directs PeaceVoice.

Oregon Peace Institute http://www.peacevoice.info/   //