Bombs for a Better World: Syria, Surveillance and the Neo-Crocs

In a sane world, the former “Chief Speechwriter for Tony Blair” would now be a fugitive from justice or serving a life sentence. But it’s not a sane world, so Philip Collins is receiving his thirty pieces of silver from the hostile elite. He has a well-paid post at the London School of Economics and writes for Rupert Murdoch’s London Times, where he displays all the intellectual power and anthropological expertise you would expect of a Blairite:

The most misunderstood book of recent times was lost in a play on words. When Francis Fukuyama called his book The End of History he was not making the foolish claim that history, as 1066 And All That nearly said, had come to a full stop. He was saying that no society better than liberal democracy would ever emerge.

With history unfolding all around us, it is a good moment to point out that Fukuyama was right. The people of Syria, like the people of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, do not wish to buy security at the cost of freedom. The Middle East will, in time, join the league of democratic nations, as Latin America has done since 1970. The fragile Government of Algeria cannot last. The limited reforms sponsored by the kings of Morocco and Jordan will buy a little time. But eventually the people there and the people in Iran will want some of what we have, they being people just like us. (Saving the people of Syria, reproduced in The Australian, 25th February, 2012)

It would be wrong to call those claims “half-witted.” No, “eighth-witted” is more like it. It took centuries for liberal democracy to evolve in Britain. Tony Blair went a long way towards destroying it in a decade. But Philip Collins thinks the Middle East will inevitably embrace it. After all, the Muslims there have no connection with their illiberal and undemocratic governments, which have presumably beamed in from Neptune or the Andromeda Galaxy. Collins thinks that Syrians, Tunisians, Libyans, Moroccans et al. are “people just like us.” Well, apart from a significantly lower average IQ and a long history of inbreeding, clannishness and corruption, that is. And a totalitarian religion that stands no nonsense about female rights and imposes the death penalty for offences like apostasy and blasphemy. Muslims in the Middle East wouldn’t have knighted Salman Rushdie the way Tony Blair did. No, they’d’ve quickly cut his head off. If he’d been lucky.

But apart from those details, Collins thinks that the Middle East is ready to “join the league of democratic nations” as “Latin America” did in 1970. He seems to be forgetting the dictatorships that flourished in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and so on. You’d expect him to remember Chile, because Spain tried to have General Pinochet extradited when Pinochet came here for medical treatment during Blair’s premiership. But Blairites don’t like history: as someone once pointed out, the only certainty in Blairism was the golden future. The past was always changing.

In this, Blairites faithfully reflected their neo-conservative confederates. The neo-cons know no history, just as they know no shame. In a sane world, what happened in Iraq would have discredited them for ever, if not placed them behind bars. But it’s not a sane world and they’re still with us, still lying, still gasbagging, still beating the drums for slaughter. One of the British neo-cons, Norman Geras, called the eighth-witted maunderings of Philip Collins a “thoughtful column.” The quality of Geras’ own thinking is apparent here:

Of course, the whole world is not a death camp, and what is happening in Syria falls far short of the Nazi genocide. Yet the brutal murder of innocent people by a state bears some kinship with all crimes against humanity, of which it is itself one. (“Adolescent” revulsion and moral shame (over Syria), NormBlog, 27th February, 2012)

The Nazis, of course, are the gold standard of evil. Comparing the Syrian government to the Nazis is designed to elicit a reflexive warrant for military action.

But it would be wrong to dismiss Geras as an eighth-witted gasbag. In fact, he’s a bloodthirsty eighth-witted gasbag:

Since it is urgent that we respond somehow, out of solidarity, of our “common human heritage” with the victims, action must be taken even if it means meeting chaos with chaos and (by implication) that the chaos we cause turns out to be worse than the chaos we’re trying to bring to an end. (NormBlog)

Neo-con Norman “Gasbag” Geras

Neo-con Norman “Gasbag” Geras

That’s four helpings of chaos, one helpful conclusion: Bombs for a Better World! Even if the bombs don’t make the world better. No, they might bring about worse chaos. But we will at least have responded out of “solidarity” and our “common human heritage.”

Or so Geras claims. But I’m one of the cynics whom he rails against. I doubt that an ethnocentric Jew like Norman Geras is as much concerned with humanity as with the interests of his own folk. If a neo-con were told that an asteroid would hit the world tomorrow, his first thought would be: “But is it good for Israel?” That is how the neo-cons are reacting to the civil war in Syria. Whichever side wins will impose a tyranny, but Assad’s Sunni enemies will want bloody revenge on Alawites and other minorities.

Diversity isn’t Syria’s strength. It isn’t the West’s strength either, despite the lies of neo-cons and other liberals. But Assad seems to be winning the war, so intervening against him could well postpone or prevent his victory. Which would mean more death, more suffering and more crimes against humanity.

But is it good for Israel? Yes, a conflict-racked Syria is good for Israel. Or so the neo-cons think. And when a neo-con wants something, the world should obey:

The Syrian regime cannot use chemical weapons without being punished

If, as seems certain, the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons there is no choice but to take military action with or without a UN mandate

… The Syrian government will be watching carefully to see whether the international community is determined to act or is impotent. Months ago President Obama warned that a red line would be crossed if chemical weapons were used. If these warnings are now seen to be hollow the Assad regime will draw the conclusion that it can commit whatever atrocities it wishes against its own people without paying any price. Chemical weapons attacks would be used again and again. Tens of thousands would perish. We would all have cause to be ashamed.

Such an outcome would not only be disastrous for the Syrian people. It would also condemn the United Nations to the same fate as the League of Nations when it was seen to be impotent in the 1930s. The stakes are high. Not to respond at all would be far more dangerous than the limited and proportionate military action being contemplated. Wringing our hands and expressing our concern is simply not enough. (The Syrian regime cannot use chemical weapons without being punished, The Guardian, 28th August, 2013)

Again, the comparison to the evil Nazis.

That was Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Conservative Foreign Secretary. When he says that “tens of thousands would perish” if chemical weapons are used again, he doesn’t mention that “tens of thousands” have already perished as a result of humane weapons like high explosive and limb-trimming bullets. Mass death will continue whatever the Syrians are using against each other. Nor does he mention white phosphorus, the Israeli weapon of choice in Gaza.

But let’s be fair: Rifkind isn’t a full neo-con. He doesn’t have the tell-tale intellectual vacuity and he didn’t support the war in Iraq. But, just like Diane Feinstein in the United States, he’s very happy with the surveillance state created by the neo-cons. Both Rifkind and Feinstein have senior positions “overseeing” the work of the intelligence services. Both of them are also Jewish. This isn’t a coincidence. They occupy “key junction points” in government, safeguarding the interests not of the United Kingdom or the United States but of the tiny nation named here:

The filters are placed at key junction points known as switches. For example, much of the communications — telephone and Internet — to and from the northwestern United States pass through a nearly windowless nine-story building at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco. This is AT&T’s regional switching center. In 2003, the NSA [National Security Agency] built a secret room in the facility and filled it with computers and software from a company called Narus. Established in Israel by Israelis, and now owned by Boeing, Narus specializes in spyware, equipment that examines both the metadata — the names and addresses of people communicating on the Internet — and the content of digital traffic such as e-mail as it zooms past at the speed of light. (James Bamford, “They Know Much More Than You Think,” The New York Review of Books, 15th August, 2013)

Made in Israel: N.S.A. H.Q., Maryland

Made in Israel: N.S.A. H.Q., Maryland

All roads lead to Tel Aviv. We have a surveillance state because Muslims living in the West object to what the West is doing in the heartlands of Islam. If Muslims weren’t immigrating en masse into the West, we wouldn’t need a surveillance state (or be enriched with rape-gangs and other vibrancies). If the West wasn’t interfering over there, Muslims wouldn’t be objecting over here. Neo-cons like Philip Collins and Norman Geras support both the immigration and the interference. And they’re very happy with the surveillance state. It enables Israel to spy on all its enemies, past, present and potential. Which means everybody. The neo-cons are shedding crocodile tears over Syria because they think prolonging the conflict or toppling Assad is in Israel’s interests.

That may be so, but I’d rather have Western policy decided by the interests of the West, not the interests of Israel. I don’t want the surveillance state, the war on terror or mass immigration by Muslims. And I want bloodthirsty gasbags like Philip Collins and Norman Geras in exile or in jail, not in positions of power and influence. So the rejection by the British parliament of intervention in Syria is a healthy sign. Here’s another neo-crocodile expressing his ethical and intellectual profundity, this time on Twitter:

I do not give a fuck what [the British rejection of military intervention]  means for Miliband and Cameron. It’s the message it sends to Assad that counts. I am ashamed. – David Aaronovitch, Twitter, 29th August, 2013

Neo-Croc David Aaronovitch

Neo-Croc David Aaronovitch

Aaronovitch didn’t get the blood he wanted. Good. Displeasing neo-crocs is the key to Western survival. We need to drain the neo-crocs’ swamp and put them somewhere they can’t do any more harm.

How about New York Zoo?