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Monday 9 September 2013

Syria, Suspicion & Snooping

For two years, people have died in Syria's civil war.

Note that this isn't the only area of the world in which people are being killed in military quantities. A moment's research reveals 11 ongoing military conflicts that yield over a thousand deaths a year, but they aren't really the topic of the news right now, which is a critique I will save for another time.

No, this conflict is the one I will pick at if only for the sheer duplicity shown by "The West" in how it is handling the situation.

Over 40,000 people died as a direct result of the Syrian civil war in 2012. Those may be slightly generous figures, as they are maintained by the Revolutionary Martyr's Database, statistics retained by the National Council. But then no counter-information has been put out by Assad's government, either.

Did we really care, back then? No, not really. And when I say We, I mean the people making decisions about "limited in scope" and "limited in duration" operations with "no boots on the ground" - a description, I will point out, that applied to Pearl Harbour.  (I daresay the Pentagon spokesman responsible for the statement, George Little, might be uncomfortable at the comparison.)

All of a sudden, we care because of the use of chemical weapons.

Don't get me wrong. The use of chemical weapons in warfare is something that deeply upsets and unsettles me, something that wrankles me in a fairly intrinsic way. They are horrifying things - in an age where one can push a button and eliminate a single floor of a building from two hundred miles away, and leave the rest of it mostly standing, no such thing should ever have a reason for being deployed.

The thing is that the deaths caused by the chemical weapon attack in question - anywhere between 300 and 1,000, according to rebel sources - is a drop in the ocean compared to how many people have been killed by being shot, being bombed, and any other comparable means of ending a life. 30,000 this year alone. If we assume that the 1,000 figure is accurate - are we really saying that the other 29,000 don't matter, because they died via the standard methods of bullet or explosion?

Just imagine lining up thirty people. Shoot 29 of them, while the police look on and murmur things about it not being good and how it should stop but not doing anything at all - then make the last one inhale Sarin, and only then, ONLY then, do the police actually decide to do anything about it.

Something more is going on here. There's a higher priority drive than the will of the people - which is overwhelmingly against current action in Syria. And it isn't related to the deaths of the innocent, either.

Meanwhile, the US and the UK declare their own civil war against their own people. Bull Run is the name of two battles in the American civil war in Virginia - one of them being the very first battle in that war - and an operation code name used in Iraq. Edgehill was a battle in the English civil war, a battle that happened outside of Warwickshire. Total casualties: approximately 17,000, in the civil wars at least.

Admittedly these new implementations of Bull Run and Edgehill aren't so much deaths via bullet or explosion. They're more insidious than that. All I'm saying is, be careful what you say in emails - if you don't want people in power to be reading it, then either encrypt it well, or don't email it at all. And certainly don't send it over the phone, either. Yes, they have you there too.

What point am I trying to make here?

Well...none, really. Just that, right now, neither the US or the UK government seems to be representing the will of its people. And that's not even getting into the economic suicide of George Osborne's austerity measures and Iain Duncan Smith's war on people poorer than him.

Perhaps it is time we started enforcing our will on our governments through every channel we can, rather than trotting out to elections and then sitting at home and complaining. And when I say We, I mean the country as a whole; because we may not have voted for the people making the shit sandwiches, but almost all of us are going to have to take a bite.