Syria, the “red line” and morality: Some wider reflections – John Gelmini

An MC-1 gas bomb

An MC-1 gas bomb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr Alf says the UN disarmament Commissioner has come up with a very balanced view but we are as yet no nearer to knowing who initiated the Sarin gas attack in Syria.

Nor are we any nearer to getting balanced treatment for so called war crimes and actual ones over the past 100 years.

The Germans were the first to use poison gas in World War 1 and were condemned by the British who said they would never use it but were interested in the effectiveness of the new German weapon.

Britain enthusiastically started to use gas despite our earlier moralistic posturing about the “Beastly Hun”until the Battle of Loos where the wind changed and we gassed our own men en masse.

Mussolini used poison gas in Abysinnia during the 1930s and Churchill imposed sanctions which resulted in people like my late parents being forced to eat black bread during the Depression years before 1939.

We used it in the Middle East in the 1920s against rebellious tribesmen and Churchill wanted to use it in World War 2 against Hitler but was warned not to.

This warning was not about what would have been a breach of the Treaty which forbids the use of such chemical weapons but about the realpolitik of potential retaliation.

General Ito and Emperor Hirohito were not tried as war criminals like certain of the Nazis. Instead, the Americans were interested in the results of General Ito’s work which included using tethered POWs as targets for gas and biological warfare experiments and seeing how long it took each prisoner to die.

Agent Orange is a chemical weapon and was used extensively in Vietnam which ended in 1976, where to this day babies are born deformed and land which once used to grow crops is still being reclaimed.

In Falluja in Iraq, the Americans used White Phosphorous which the Geneva Convention says must not be used in civilian areas but can be used for clearing brush and dense undergrowth in an open battlefield situation which is not built up or populated.

Israel used White Phosphorus in Gaza a densely built up area and thus committed war crimes but for some reason they are condemned a lot less than other people.

During the Iraq war, we used depleted uranium shells, which when combined with other chemicals, possibly released by our bombing, caused Gulf War syndrome which affected Coalition troops and Iraqis alike.


What this little trip down memory lane shows is that when it suits us we use chemical and biological weapons and in fact we are making and storing them at Porton Down near Salisbury to this day.

America has a similar facility at Fort Detrick and is even reputed to have made a bio ethnic weapon which only kills non white people.

We are presumably doing this purely for defensive purposes and would never use any of our stockpiles of these weapons because we would not want to breach the Treaty we have signed up to or be guilty at some date in the future of committing a war crime?


The reality of the civil war there is that we, America, France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to topple Iran and to do that we have to remove Syria first.

We are already involved in that war using special forces and probably mercenaries doing our bidding at arms length, but are losing to Assad and his Iranian proxies.

The Sarin Gas attack provides a “red line” for America and would have done for us but people are tired of wars without end and risking the lives of our young men for no good reason.

For once, Cameron and the Westminster elite were given a drubbing and rightly so, but I am under no illusion that they will simply forget what happened.

They will instead, go away and find a means to get their way through stealth and subterfuge.

John Gelmini

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Syria – Hit him hard – Economist lead: An alternative view – John Gelmini

Bashar al-Assad - Caricature

Bashar al-Assad – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Based on the Economist lead entitled “Syria – Hit him hard“, are we to assume that the Economist is owned by warmongers and staffed by people without a brain cell between them?

Let’s take a harder look at the “Hit him hard” option.

In the first place, Assad left alone poses no threat to us, in the West, and it is not in our national interest or anyone else’s to intervene.

The price of oil and gold is rising so it benefits people who bought gold cheaply, it benefits Arab oil sheiks and it benefits oil traders and plutocrats who own oil shares.

Hitting Assad hard destabilizes the Middle East, could tip us back into recession and will cost lives.
The lives that will be lost will be of young fighting men, not politicians, not dictatorial oil sheiks, not oil traders and certainly not employees of the Economist who really ought to know better.

In the hysteria being created by David Cameron and the ill-informed debate in the House of Commons several things are being forgotten:

–We do not yet know if Assad caused the Sarin gas attack, whether it was a false flag event, a trap or indeed who initiated it yet the Commons motion and all manner of people including BBC reporters are ASSUMING it was Assad.

–David Cameron assumes that what Obama calls a “shot across the bows” is going to end there with Assad brought instantly to heel.

Former General Dannatt, General Dempsey and other top military men do not think so, and history shows that they are more likely to be correct than the vacuous Cameron or Economist reporters who do not understand military matters or it seems human nature expressed in a man like Assad, who with his back to the wall will have no choice but to defend himself.

Al-Nusra, the main rebel group, are affiliated to Al Qaeda, who are our enemy and according to the Americans are the people who brought down the Twin Towers at 9/11, supposedly the reason for our “War on terror” in the first place.

Is the Economist seriously suggesting that if we “Hit Assad hard” that the chemical weapons possessed by the Assad regime won’t fall into the hands of Al Nusra, bearing in mind we have “no plans for boots on the ground”?

–How does the Economist think we are going to contain what will become a wider Middle East war if Assad, as he is entitled to do, tries to defend himself?

–Has the Economist decision treed the effects of potential Russian and Chinese retaliation or what form it could take against Western interests or explained to its readers who will pay?

Assuming we “Hit Assad hard” what will the Economist say if the casualties and inevitable “collateral damage” creates more casualties and deaths than the Sarin gas even assuming that Assad’s purported culpability and complicity can be proved?

–What is Plan B, the strategic objective?


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