It was quite amazing to watch reports from Syria this week by US news channel CNN. American bombing of a remaining redoubt of the ISIS terror group near Baghouz on the border with Iraq was presented as some kind of heroic final onslaught against the terror group.
The inversion of reality is a staggering case study in propaganda and “perception management” under the guise of “free media”.
CNN broadcast on-the-ground reports from its correspondent Ben Wedeman in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province. In the background were evident signs, according to the channel’s video footage, that the US air force was dropping white phosphorus incendiary munitions in support of the offensive against militants.
Indiscriminate use of white phosphorus bombs is arguably a war crime. Yet the US media openly reported this as if it was a legitimate war operation in order to “defeat terrorism”.
Nothing in the CNN reportage suggested anything illegal about the US military campaign. On the contrary, the events were presented as a valorous attempt to “defeat ISIS”.
There are several reasons why this latest US military operation in eastern Syria is disturbing, not least because of mounting civilian deaths as a result of American air strikes.
For a start, American military presence in Syria is a gross violation of international law. The US has no legal mandate to be in that country, operating their since 2015, either as ground forces or warplanes.
Secondly, it is well-documented that Washington has been covertly funneling military aid to various anti-government militia, including terrorist groups like ISIS, in a bid to overthrow the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad. This has been conducted as part of an eight-year covert war sponsored by Washington and its allies for illegal regime change against the sovereign government in Damascus.
President Trump has given orders for US forces to withdraw from Syria. He says it’s time to bring “our boys” home. As if “our boys” have performed a noble duty there. The fact is American forces in Syria constitute a war crime. They shouldn’t even be there.
So, belated US media reports of American forces bearing down on the remnants of ISIS in eastern Syria are, to say the least, a little anomalous, given the systematic support that Washington has been covertly plying to assorted jihadist terror groups for the purpose of regime change. That is an entirely criminal aggression against Syria.
But the latest operation in eastern Syria is particularly hard to take. It has been the Syrian army along with Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah forces that largely liberated Syria from the scourge of foreign-backed Islamist terror groups. The war in Syria has been won against the US and its malign criminal partners, not, as American media would have us believe, due to Washington’s “heroic efforts”.
Western news media have lately focused on a small pocket of ISIS hold-outs in eastern Syria as if the US is the liberator of the Arab country – a country which Washington and its NATO allies have infiltrated with jihadists for criminal regime change.
CNN’s coverage this week was especially perverse. Ben Wedeman and his team were showing US military dropping banned white phosphorus incendiaries on civilian areas of eastern Syria in the name of “fighting terrorism”.
CNN’s reportage was without the slightest hint that such military actions amount to gross war crimes. The entire US military presence in Syria is an even bigger violation of international law. The “normalization” of such violations and war crimes by the US media in real time is an illustration of how such supposed news channels are nothing but a propaganda arm for Washington’s imperialist warmongering.
The banal normalization by US news media of what should be viewed as enormous war crimes is something to behold, if not to be nauseated by.
American forces in Syria have killed thousands of civilians. Their latest operations to “liberate” the eastern region from jihadists that they infiltrated with in the first place has caused, this week alone, dozens of civilian deaths from US air strikes. This is a gruesome reminder of the horror that US air strikes inflicted on the Syrian city of Raqqa which was flattened in 2017 by American bombardment.
The charnel house that Syria has been turned into is a direct consequence of American regime-change machinations. And yet US media report a microcosm of the horror in terms suggesting that the American forces are somehow liberators. How grotesque.
Such an obscene distortion is partly why Washington is allowed to continue its criminal wars in other parts of the world. It is because of US media whitewashing war crimes in real time. And CNN has the shameless audacity to call its war propaganda “journalism”.