MARK KARLIN, EDITOR AT BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
After 12 years of US executive branch deceit, the US Congress is on the verge of backing another war in the Middle East -- this time with a vote.
Make no mistake about it. Obama doesn't mean a word of limiting his actions as commander in chief to a limited strike to punish the Syrians for allegedly using Weapons of Mass Destruction. (As to who dispersed them in a rather primitive fashion it is still not clear, despite alleged definitive statements from White House representatives.)
The odds of the US launching a combined sea-based and airforce bombing attack on the Syrian military command and elite forces, but not provoking some sort of counter-action from Syria, Iran, Hezbollah or even the Al Qaeda rebels who are fighting the Assad regime are about zero. Remember how long it took NATO and the US to degrade the Libyan armed forces before the fall of Gaddhafi? Does anyone anywhere truly believe that Obama intends to stop at one strike as compared to using the strike as the kindling wood.
So we can assume the White House and the pentagon are aware that the counterattack will result in Obama authorizing a full-scale military assault on Syria, although without infantry on the ground (but you can be sure special forces and paramilitary intelligence units are already in Syria as they were in Libya). Needless to say, an attack on US interests or Israel will quickly see NATO nations, including the now sidelined UK, fall in line with a "coalition of the reluctant" to force regime change.
As we noted yesterday in "The White House Keeps Us in Fear to Preserve Military Dominance Over Oil," fear has, since 9/11, been the main emotional manipulator of Americans, allowing the executive branch to project military power without interference. Put simply, the use of fear allows the White House to act militarily to manage regional interests in the Middle East to allow for continued and unimpeded access of the West to its vast oil reserves.
Just remember this: the US military is the largest consumer of petroleum in the world. In one respect, the war machine acts to preserve its own supply of oil without which it could not function, whatever the reserves in the US and elsewhere.
This is really what President Obama is speaking about when he talks about actions being taken to ensure our "national security." In this case, our national security is a double entrende meaning to invoke in citizens fear for their personal well being and that the paternal government is protecting us. But it also means that war is necessary (at least four of them in the Middle East, if we include Syria, since 2000) to preserve the national security economic interests of the United States -- and a steady fuel supply for the US armed forces.
The Middle East is a complex area -- filled with its own internal factions of religious, political and ethnic identities -- but the mission of the US empire is to play whatever "Great Game" is necessary to ensure that these conflicts don't get in the way of the free flow of oil.
As we noted yesterday, Obama said this point blank in a PBS interview when he cited as his third reason for striking Syria: "if we are clear about the free flow of energy throughout the region that affects the entire global economy...," then one can understand the need for dealing with Syria.
In the early part of the 1900s, the British navy (the largest military armada in the world at the time because the UK was the largest empire at the time) switched from powering their fleet from coal to oil. Some historians argue that this was the "official" beginning of the "Great Game" to control the flow of oil in the Middle East. (Although, of course oil has also been the primary energy source for the modern industrial revolution, along with the increasingly controversial use of coal in particular applications.)
Now, the Russians and the Chinese, to an increasing extent (although the Chinese are concentrating on Africa in regards to oil, they have made inroads the Middle East including Iraq of all places), are part of the behind the scenes back story to the "Great Game."
And as much as we can all have compassion for the victims of chemical weapons, remember that up to 60 million people were killed in WW II. War is the biggest WMD there is, regardless of the way in which people are slaughtered.
With a Congressional vote authorizing a transparent cover story of a "punitive strike" for alleged but still unproven use of chemical weapons, it would be an authorization to go to war with Syria. That is because the US strike will open up the doors of Hell.
Which players in the "great game" will become part of the chaos in a ratcheted up war with ongoing US involvement (despite Obama's promises) -- in which 100,000 have already died -- will unfold in the weeks ahead.
Over the last 12 years, hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in Middle Eastern wars in which the US has had a major role. Approximately -- according to Secretary of State John Kerry -- 1500 Syrian civilians were horribly massacred in the sarin chemical release.
But on the scale of life, the destruction wrought by wars for oil, including ethnic conflicts manipulated by Western powers (such as the Iran/Iraq wars in the '80s when the US initially backed Saddam Hussein, including a classic photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking his hand in Baghdad on behalf of President Reagan, in which millions died) is the real Weapon of Mass Destruction.
And the US regularly employs that WMD to ensure less our personal security than our comfortable way of life and profits for the military-industrial-surveillance complex.
War is profitable, as is oil.
More profitable than the lives of non-Americans in distance lands who live and work amidst the ground-based fuel that powers the industry, lifestyle and profits of the United States.
Although Syria is not a major supplier of oil, it's location and geo-political position make it a vital pawn in the "Great Game."
(Photo: Tim Evanson)