By THeodor Fikre
“To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind” ~ Opening sentence of the United Nations Charter
If you are not paying attention to the unfolding crisis that is occurring in the Middle East, now is the time to focus like a laser on the unfolding tragedy that is taking place in Syria. There is a reason I cited the charter of the United Nations to lead off this article. The UN was established to prevent armed conflicts and act as a bulwark against another global conflagration. Humanity learned our lesson after witnessing the ravages wrought by the first and second world wars; nations throughout the world rallied to the flag of peace so that future generations could live in co-existence.
If only reality matched the rhetoric of dream sellers. We did not learn a lesson as much as we got lulled into complacency; the horrors of WWI and WWII receded to the back of our minds as periods of national prosperity made us forget what happens when madmen lead humanity into conflicts. The UN gave a legal framework for greater nations to declare wars on lesser nations and loosen blitzkriegs upon governments who refuse to comply to the wishes of globalist empires in ways Hitler would be proud of. We are witnessing the real life enactment of the book “Animal Farm” as boars who have accumulated unimaginable fortunes dispense laws for others that they themselves never follow.
The brazen abrogations of justice is reaching a fever pitch; we are being driven to the brink of our collective extinction because some would prefer humanity’s liquidation if that means they can forgo relinquishing a fraction of their riches and influence. For too long, we have led our lives divorced from the realities of omnipresent wars that keep being declared for the sake of money and global eminence. What is taking place in Syria should serve as our wake up call; we are one bad decision or one miscalculation away from the age of Armageddon. A prophetic war is pixelating before our very eyes; Syria has turned into a geopolitical battlefield that threatens to engulf the world in a hailstorm of bombs and bullets while we are busy bickering about politics and petty differences.
I’m not writing this to be hyperbolic; our planet has been living with the sword of Damocles hanging over all of our heads ever since the USSR joined the United States in the rush to attain the nuclear domination. For a long time, the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (M.A.D) held a planetary carnage at bay. MAD has been relegated to the sideline by lunatics who are openly advocating a war with Russia that could pave the way for the annihilation of billions of people around the world. The unthinkable often happens when the public is checked out and not paying attention. In the past, the unthinkable were wars that took millions of lives around the world; this time around, the unthinkable could be nuclear tipped ICBMs criss-crossing continents and landing at our doorsteps.
Now is a time that demands leadership and saner voices to speak out; to the contrary, mainstream media keeps trotting out a procession of warmongers who are pressing the case to “confront Russia”. This latest drumbeat for war is based on the imputation that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. I don’t write this to defend the despot from Damascus nor am I casting Putin as a hero. However, I know a rush to war when I see it. Corporate journalists and media personalities are jumping the gun and selling the notion that Assad deployed chlorine gas on the town of Douma.
Why he would do so when the Syrian army is on the brink of defeating the rebels and in the process risk international retaliation is beyond comprehension. But who has time for a logical assessment of facts when there is a war to be had. In breakneck fashion, a charge was leveled by British and American authorities only to be run up the flagpole by an ever pliant corporate media as a fait accompli before any work was done to independently validate what government officials are asserting.
A rush to judgement has been replaced by a full sprint to war. The lies that led us into the Iraq War of aggression seem like Nuremberg trails by comparison. At least Bush and company pretended to build a case before they launched Tomahawks in the direction of Baghdad and unleashed hell on a nation that never attacked us. Now they don’t even bother to substantiate charges before they present claims as ‘slam dunk’ facts. A few pictures and a blind quote or two are all that are needed for corporate journalists to run to hot mics and live cameras and spew propaganda into the public square.
The New York Times published a lead story with the headline “Dozens Suffocate in Syria as Government Is Accused of Chemical Attack”. In the story, Ben Hubbard substantiates US and UK government positions as he notes the “latest Syria atrocity” by accompanying his story with moving pictures of dead Syrian children. Buried deep in the story is this one interesting nugget:
“It was not possible to independently verify the reports because Douma is surrounded by Syrian government forces, which prevent access by journalists, aid workers and investigators.” ~ Ben Hubbard
In other words, Mr. Hubbard is admitting that he did not independently verify the charges that Assad used chemical weapons even though the article uses bold 36 point font to present allegations as gospel truths. This is propaganda that Joseph Goebbels would be proud of. In a paradigm where six corporations monopolize nearly 90% of the information and news we consume as a society, conditioning the public through false narratives and talking points sans third party authentication has become the linchpin of mainstream media. A free-press is supposed to check power and investigate all angles before they confer legitimacy to government pronouncement. That was so 20th century ago; we live in an age where journalists record and report without doing any legwork to corroborate what is being told to them.
This is a most perilous development. Without a truly independent and credible media, governmental excesses and institutional corruption become a menace to society. A defanged fourth estate has become the lapdogs of the corporate-federal complex. We should really be leery of where all this is headed, while we are debating the childish antics of Donald Trump and getting spun up into collective derangement, away from the public eye we are slowly being marched into a potential war that could lead to humanity’s final dissolution. It is instructive to look back in history to realize where we are headed.
All wars are fought through pretexts. The Spanish-American War was initiated after the public was driven into hysteria as yellow journalists led the charge that Spain sunk the USS Maine. Reporters did not bother to fact check or certify what was being told by authorities. They ran one story after another establishing that Spaniards killed Americans. Within short order, war broke out between two global powers that took the lives of countless thousands from Cuba to the Philippines and beyond. Long after the last shot was fired, George W. Melville—a Naval chief engineer—noted that the sinking of the USS Maine was caused by a combustion within the hull of the boat and was not caused by a mine as claimed by bureaucrats and reporters alike.
The propaganda that rushed the United States into a war with Spain is not so much an outlier as it is a running theme of wars throughout history. The Vietnam War was initiated through another concocted narrative; a lie that the North Vietnamese sunk the USS Maddox was used to justify a war that would end up taking the lives of 58,220 Americans and millions of Vietnamese civilians and combatants. We have been in a continuous state of war for more than 50 years, each time a bomb goes boom overseas, big bucks are counted by the unholy axis of corporations and federated institutions. Major General Smedley Butler—the most heavily decorated Marine in history—noted that war is always a racket. This next racket could end up wrecking life as we know it.
This weekend, I met a former Naval intelligence officer who lost his leg in action while serving overseas. Forced into retirement because of poor health conditions, he now works at a fast food diner in Marlow Heights, Maryland. Tony told me about his reverence for the Navy and I told him about my father who served in the Ethiopian Navy and how my dad’s visit to America through the Naval Exchange program became the pathway for our eventual migration to America. I talked to Tony for nearly two hours that day as he recounted the challenges he faces after an RPG took his limb, shattered his spleen and ravaged his cognitive abilities. Tony’s short term memory is limited severely, he remembers events and moments from the past but forgets day to day details. He told me at the end of our conversation that he was grateful for the conversation but that he would forget our exchange when he wakes up the next day. This is the hell of war plutocrats, politicians and pundits rarely mention as they bang war drums.
These issues are personal for me for a lot of reasons. My own father was a veteran as was his father Million Tedla who fought with valor and distinction against Mussolini’s savage military in Ethiopia during World War II. I’ve always had a deep reverence for men and women who put on the uniform to serve their nation for these reasons. This reverence was only heightened during my two year journey of hardship and adversity. I’ve befriended countless veterans (watch video at the bottom of this article) as I shuffled in and out of missions and homeless shelters. To this day, it is a source of great consternation and a grief that weighs deeply on my heart when I see veterans on sidewalks asking for change after they gave all to their nation.
For the record, my aim in this is not to be anti-American nor is my intention to take sides in this ongoing geopolitical game of power projection. I love America with all my heart and will forever be grateful for this blessed land that gave me shelter when my birthplace Ethiopia was overrun with Marxists the same year I was born. However, my primary allegiance as a journalist is not to a nation but to truth and justice. Nationalism should not be bigger than humanity; we can have a modicum of peace and coexistence if we let love instead of greed be the moral compass of mankind. War is a necessary evil only because we lack the imagination to share the resources of the world instead of letting a few hoard the wealth for themselves. Our blind acceptance of war and the authorities who push them is threatening our very existence.
War is hell for all involved except for the few who profit through it. As technology evolves, we become more and more disconnected from the horrors of conflicts. This time around, a war that is being ginned up between world powers could very well spell the doom for life as we know it. Albert Einstein noted that he doesn’t know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. Humanity is at the brink as each day brings us closer to the final hour. For the sake of our children and future generations, I pray that saner minds take charge so that we can avoid a war that will bring untold sorrow and a global holocaust to mankind.