us-troops-syria

The United States has been at war for 15 years — wars intensified by a Nobel Peace Laureate. The cost is now estimated by reliable sources in the trillions and worldwide casualties in the millions. Post-traumatic stress disorder has reached epidemic proportions: an average of 22 US veterans are committing suicide … each day.

So inured to violence, the police are killing civilians — often unarmed — and vice versa in alarming incidents. Mass shootings are common enough to be less than big headline news. Last weekend, bomb attacks, fortunately amateurish, hit New Jersey and New York City wounding at least 29. At the same time 1500 miles away in sleepy St. Cloud, Minnesota, a radicalized (though heretofore polite, courteous and well-liked) Somali security guard went on a stabbing rampage in a shopping mall.

Simple question: Why isn’t Canada with many more refugees subjected to such violence? If a president cannot answer that question, he should resign. If he can and is unable to effect policies to stop it, he should also resign.

Just over the Labor Day weekend, a holiday to celebrate labor and unions — although with the unions emasculated in our post-industrial world, and no union-organized picnics or any other activities, the name is redundant — the US military was busy flying sorties in six countries: Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan. When residents from these countries hear of the killings of relatives and friends, some of them snap. The attackers over the weekend belonged to Somalia and the Pashtun borderlands of Afghanistan/Pakistan, the most droned place on earth.

The policy in Syria of still trying to topple President Assad is now bringing confrontation with Russia. Any miscalculation and the results could be deadly, for how many missiles does it take to sink an aircraft carrier and what then will be the US president’s response. Killing 62 Syrian soldiers in support of Islamic extremists at a well known location is hardly the way to fight ISIS and the alphabet soup of fundamentalist groups. Predictably, the fight for Aleppo has resumed.

The rank hypocrisy of a US president accusing Russia of trying to recover past glory in the UN General Assembly — after organizing a coup to topple a legitimate elected government in Ukraine, brazenly breaking a truce agreement just this week, and much more — left the UN audience uncomfortable and probably gobsmacked.

And the histrionic and incoherent performance of the ‘liberal interventionist’ supremo and US Representative, Samantha Power (a Libyan interventionist responsible for the havoc there yet married to University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, an ethicist and animal rights activist) to protest a Russian call for a Security Council meeting was less diplomatic than churlish. Anyway Sergey Lavrov made clear, this time in skilled diplomatic language, the truce was more or less over.

The US should be very grateful Putin is unlikely to lob missiles about. Both careful and cautious, he is trying as always to wean away Europe — and succeeding to some extent with Turkey, which too has done some bombing in the fairly recent past … this time of the US’s Kurdish allies. Moreover Pakistan is, for the first time in its history, holding joint military exercises with Russian troops on its soil.

In the Syria-Iraq mess, everyone is fighting their own war … the people on the ground doing the dying. If there is an iconic photo for this US administration — like that of the naked girl fleeing a napalm attack in Vietnam — it is of Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi, the little toddler lying dead, face down as the water laps beside him.

Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor. A frequent contributor to the print and electronic media, his work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.