My apologizes for coming to you twice in a week.
Yesterday, in the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Nikki Haley made a presentation about the terrible gas attack in Syria which killed almost sixty people. She insinuated that the culprit is the government in Damascus and she suggested - tepidly - that the US might consider some kind of military action against the government.
This came alongside her own statement that the author of this terrible strike is not yet precisely known.
At Alternet, I have an essay which goes over the question of how these stories are reported and what they means in this context. This is a brief note, written in the heat of the moment - with some experience in the way in which media works and how the powers that be use partial reports for calamitous ends. I recall the lead-up to the US illegal war on Iraq (2003) and the lead-up to NATO's disastrous war on Libya (2011). High UN officials - in 2011 - told me that they were guided not by any independent intelligence on the ground from Libya, but by the official Saudi media organization al-Arabiyya. Seems to be one has to look carefully at the person speaking as much as at what they are saying. This should not imply that interested parties are not also often correct in what they say. It simply means that in times of great tension, circumspection should be the mode.
It is also important to bear in mind that only last week the United States acknowledged that its bombers killed about two hundred civilians in Mosul.
My essay ends:
But more than anything the international community must urge a thorough investigation of these events before rushing to either a forensic judgment about what happened and to a response?particularly a military response?in retaliation. Sober heads need to prevail. War is rarely the answer. Particularly when we don’t as yet know the question.
You can read it here.
This weekend I delivered a talk at the Peace Action (US) meeting on the question of American militarism. Observe a problem, as they say, and the US government reaches for the trigger. War has become a habit of statecraft. The talk and q&a run for about 45 minutes. You could watch it here.
The picture above is by Jayel Aheram, a writer, Iraq War vet and a photographer. I find that this picture captures my general sense: a gun behind the back, a peace sign out in front. This is the definition of 'hegemony'.