The West has always been a great trembling hive of hypocrisy, portraying itself as liberal, progressive, civilised and democratic. You know the descriptors; the list is very long. Take the United States, for example, it is the «shining house upon the hill»: just, altruistic, democratic, with a «mission to extend individual liberties throughout the world».
«Our cause has been the cause of all mankind», Lyndon Johnson declared during the 1964 presidential election campaign. To reinforce his argument Johnson cited President Woodrow Wilson, who had similar things to say about American virtue. Nothing has changed: listen to Barack Obama talk about the altruism of the United States. ‘We are the «exceptional nation»,’ he often says.
These western and especially US virtues are mobilised to justify policies, wars, covert activities which are not virtuous at all. Let’s start with Wilson. He is best known for the «Fourteen Points», national self-determination, «democracy», open agreements, and so on. «Do as I say, not as I do,» Wilson might have cautioned in the backroom. He did not, for example, anticipate «self-determination» for the Philippines, a US colony, or closer to home, for American «Negros».
You see, Wilson was a segregationist and supporter of Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan. We need the KKK, Wilson believed, to keep «colored folks» in line, especially those who came back from France having served in the US armed forces. They might think they were entitled to the same rights as white people. As American blacks were to be subject to Jim Crow, so Bolsheviks in Russia were to be subjected to Entente military intervention to put an end to their socialist revolution.
Then of course there was World War II. It is during this war that the United States and Great Britain got into the habit of destroying cities and civilian infrastructure, and killing large numbers of civilians. It is true that Nazi Germany set the precedent for targeting civilians, and few people questioned the destruction of German cities and the mass killing of civilians in Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden, Berlin and other places.
The «krauts» had it coming. So did the Japanese, most of their cities were burned to the ground. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed with the first atomic bombs. «Military targets,» said accidental President Harry Truman, «we had to do it to save the lives of American soldiers». He lied. The American government knew very well that Japan was beaten and ready to surrender. The United States wanted to intimidate Iosif Stalin, with atomic bombs the USSR did not yet have. Did the Americans truly believe they could intimidate Marshal Stalin?
The end of World War II led to the resumption of the Cold War, Act II (Act I having started in 1917). With Great Britain reduced to the status of a vassal state, the United States took the lead in defending «free» peoples against the menace of communism. Unfortunately, there was a chasm between the image and the reality. The US government unleashed the CIA to buy politicians and elections and overthrow governments it did not like. Iran, Guatemala, Cuba were early examples. That was the fate reserved for Vietnam too, except there, Washington bit off more than it could chew.
The United States sabotaged Vietnamese elections in 1956 because, according to US president Dwight Eisenhower, the communist leader Ho Chi Minh would have won 80% of the vote. Not much respect for democracy there: it turns out that the United States was only comfortable with «democracy» when their clients won. When they couldn’t win, elections were rigged, bought with CIA money, or sabotaged. «Leftists, communists, eccentrics, not wanted here,» was a sign America might have hung out on the doors of its embassies worldwide.
In Vietnam the United States hijacked the south and ran it through puppets. A terrible war ensued: the World War II pattern of targeting cities and civilians was repeated. The US government declared that it was not bombing North Vietnamese cities, but Toronto Star correspondent Michael Maclear drove up from the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone to Hanoi and found just about every city and town along the way had been flattened or badly damaged by American bombing. Civilians were fair game, US claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Estimates range from 2 to 6 civilians killed for every Vietnamese combatant. These figures are certainly on the low side given US carpet bombing and use of napalm and chemical defoliants.
It is true that most of the Vietnamese people were united with their armed forces in resisting US aggression. So the distinction between civilian and soldier was necessarily blurred, much to the frustration of US authorities. Then there was the My Lai massacre in March 1968 when nearly five hundred men, women and children were gunned down by American soldiers. The massacre made the pages of Life magazine, not good publicity for the American war of aggression in Southeast Asia.
The United States lost that war because of the remarkable resistance of the Vietnamese people, though they paid a high price for driving out the American invader. Defeat however did not long chasten US authorities. In 1973 the CIA overthrew the democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende. A neo-fascist took his place, which was fine with Washington. In the 1980s the United States backed Islamist fundamentalists in Afghanistan against the USSR. «They’re sons of bitches», Americans might have agreed in a rare moment of candour, but «they are our sons of bitches».
The point is that the American claims of altruism and promotion of democracy were bogus. As long as the USSR existed, the United States could not run completely amuck although the US rampage in Southeast Asia was bad enough. After the collapse and dismemberment of the USSR, the United States felt the last restraints on its power fall away. NATO was expanded up to Russia’s western frontiers. Yugoslavia was destroyed and dismembered without any reference to international law. The United States and its NATO vassals backed Islamist terrorists and gangsters in Bosnia and Kosovo, following the Afghan pattern. «They’re our terrorists and gangsters,» the Americans might have said, «and therefore we’re alright». Serbia was bombed, its infrastructure destroyed, civilians were killed. Not even crocodile tears were shed in the west over the dead Serbian civilians.
Since the destruction of Yugoslavia, the list of US and western covert or overt wars of aggression is long. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen have all been destroyed or are being destroyed by the United States and its NATO or regional vassals in the name of «responsibility to protect» (R2P) and «democracy» proselytization. The west’s allies are Wahhabi terrorists (again), Daesh, Nusra, Al-Qaeda and various iterations of them, as well as fascists in the Ukraine. It is an extraordinary American rogues’ gallery, like a long police line-up of felons. But «not to worry», the Americans would no doubt repeat, «they’re our Islamists and our fascists, and working for us, which makes everything alright».
Everywhere the United States leaves its footprints, along with those of the British and French depending on location, you will find ruins and victims. Iraq and Libya are in chaos and infested with Al-Qaeda terrorists. War drags on in Afghanistan after fifteen years. In the Ukraine the US-backed fascist coup d’état has only partially succeeded and a crisis there could irrupt at any time. In Yemen a Saudi invasion has butted into formidable resistance.
In Syria the US and Anglo-French-led attempt to overthrow the Syrian government has failed. Not only did the United States run up against a formidable Syrian resistance inspired by Syrian president Bashar el-Assad, but it has run up against the Russian Federation, Iran, and Hezbollah. They are allied with the Syrian government against the invasion of US and western supported Islamist mercenaries, armed, financed, trained, and sheltered by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and Apartheid Israel.
Russia has played the principal role in checking the US-led war of aggression against Syria. Of course, President Vladimir Putin has tried to finesse the United States into abandoning its terrorist allies and joining a coalition to destroy the Wahhabi invaders. As I write these lines, the Russian effort has failed; as well it might, since the United States is addicted to subversion and wars of aggression as a drug user is addicted to narcotics. But Russia had to try, and I suppose, will continue to try, to persuade the United States to go cold turkey.
In the meantime its French and British vassals accuse Russia and Syria of war crimes, fulminate about the surrounded, victimized Wahhabi terrorists in Aleppo. The very same who have made films showing their decapitation of Syrian POWs and officials, Christians and any others who don’t embrace their practice of Islam. Further forms of cruelty include execution by drowning or being burned alive in cages, or crushed by tanks. Women are raped, and stoned if they don’t submit; refugees seeking to escape Al-Qaeda authority are flogged, crucified, decapitated, buried alive, or shot (the latter form of execution being for the Wahhabis a rather banal, merciful way of killing victims).
It is these terrorists who the United States and its vassals support in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria. They have abandoned the argument about the Wahhabis being «our terrorists» for another to the effect that they are «our moderates». This line is just as preposterous and bogus as all the other US justifications for war, though President Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, have played along trying to persuade the United States to see reason. The Russian strategy has failed, as its other peace strategies have failed, because, inter alia, there are no Islamist «moderates» to separate from the so-called genuine terrorists. «Our moderates» is a fiction and a US cover for its support of Al-Qaeda and its various allies, largely foreign mercenaries fighting against the secular, legitimate government of Syria.
The only result, so far, of Russian efforts is that US generals threaten «to beat» Russia as never before. The French president threatens Russia and Syria with war crimes indictments, and various British politicians, including the Foreign Secretary, fulminate about Nazi-like bombardments of poor, innocent «moderates» who in fact use Aleppo civilians in their diminishing zone of occupation as human shields, summarily executing those who attempt to escape. In the much larger part of Aleppo which the «moderates» do not control, they deliberately target civilians.
Will there ever be an end to the hypocrisy and double standards? From Wilson to Johnson, to Obama, we have been subjected to a pack of lies. The US and western narrative about Syria, as elsewhere, is false to the last syllable. The «shining house upon the hill» is a myth. A dark charnel house filled to the ceiling with victims of US and European neo-colonialism would better represent the reality. But don’t expect any western governments to look inside that house. «Collateral damage,» the Americans would say, «and a price worth paying». Myths and lies conceal the real foreign conduct of the United States and its vassals, but that unfortunately is nothing new. The question now is whether Americans, Europeans and Canadians are willing to risk a gratuitous war with Russia for a pack of lies, in defence of the US-led Al-Qaeda invasion of Syria. We, all of us, need to decide quickly, before it is too late.