Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Retro beer ad, from Barcelona.
Really mystified for hours by this:
I looked at the Wapo article (noting date) and found that it was about the third Manning document dump, the one with all the US state department cables, and US funding of anti-Assad Syrian exile forces, and I'm thinking what does that have to do with the civil war? The article was published in April 2011, just a month after the beginning of large-
scale Arab Spring peaceful protest in Dawa, and well before the Assad regime had even really started cracking down; and it was about diplomatic cables of 2009, and secret US support for the Barada satellite TV station (Dr. Evil voice: SIX MILLION DOLLARS!).

Finally realized, after some patient help from Efdal, and waking up at 5:00 in the morning, that the WikiLeaks tweeter is literally alleging that the US launched the uprising that led to the Syrian Civil War with that $6 million investment—nothing to do with inspiration from the heroic successes of Tunisia and Egypt or any agency on the part of the Syrian people themselves, all managed by the CIA, a club of exiles in London, and a very inexpensive TV station, although, as the Wapo story said in April 2011,
its viewer share is tiny compared with other independent satellite news channels such as al-Jazeera and BBC Arabic. Although Barada TV broadcasts 24 hours a day, many of its programs are reruns. 
This did not happen. It is undoubtedly true that the US was entertaining potential anti-Assad political forces in Syria, in the way it does in all similar circumstances, partly in the (sensible) aim of being prepared for when somebody else takes power, partly in the (dubious) aim of just making mischief. But they are not capable of staging a popular uprising; the best they can do is a fake one with the help of a local plutocracy as in Bush's attempts to overthrow the elected government of Venezuela, and the local plutocracy in Syria were 100% owned by Bashar.

Oh, did I say Bush (whose holdovers were presumably still largely running the State Department when these cables were sent in April 2009)? The point of this sneaky little tweet being posted two and a half years after the story it's reporting is to suggest, isn't it, that President Obama blundered into Syria like a Bush in a china shop, as it were, and don't vote they're all the same.

I've been in favor of WikiLeaks on general principles and particularly of the Manning dumps, which I believe have performed a really valuable service, and have called for leniency or clemency or general public kudos to Chelsea Manning on several occasions. But those documents do not in any way support the idea that the US did anything in Syria as it erupted into uprising. Indeed they cannot, since they stop in February 2010, a good ten months before the despair and death of Mohamed Bouaziza gave Arabs all over the Maghreb and Levant the idea that they might try doing something to change their plight.
Republican resistance in the Basque country, from La Chica del Solitario.

The Syrian people bravely began their own uprising with no real help from anybody (I admired them here), and when the conflict devolved into civil war there were a number of guilty parties beginning with the extraordinarily shameless and brutal Assad and his enablers (with special mention going here to Bush's President Maliki opening Iraq up so the Iranian enablers could get their men and matériel to Syria unobstructed) on the one side and the Sunni enablers, I guess largely from Saudi Arabia, on the other. The US stood apart in (completely appropriate) terror that it could do nothing that would not make things worse, to the sputtering rage of your Tom Friedmans, but talked, talked, talked, through channels and back channels, through Iranian progress and Russian regression, until the time was precisely right for the great Obama bluff, to the sputtering rage of your Tom Dreyfusses who were convinced that the president had some sudden personal craving for a war.

The WikiLeaks tweeter, I guess, is just another enraged Tom [note: After his August 29 meeting with the president, by September 2013 Friedman had a view that is much more compatible with my own. —Yas, 9/15/2014] for whom it is somehow emotionally important to keep that flame burning no matter how unpromising the situation. If Obama didn't invade Syria like a lunatic fascist the way I said he was going to do, well, that just shows how treacherous he is, doesn't it?

I wonder if it isn't a kind of Boomer envy? I know back in the day I was all about wishing I was a maquisard cowering in a farmhouse cellar and making trembling love with Ingrid Bergman while the Nazis stomped around outside, in their glossy full-calf boots; and getting high and locking up the university president in the administration building seemed pretty pallid in comparison. Do you suppose to today's Occupy graduates those experiences of ca. 1970 are somehow glamorous in the same way? I really doubt it (way too jealous of them to imagine they could be jealous of me): but perhaps to the in-between generation, the commitment-shy but consumption-ready Gen-Xers, the ones from a comfortable background where that 90s instability was all moral instead of financial, are just now embarking on their early-onset mid-life crisis, wishing Nixon was president so their disappointment could have some meaning.

But it's really annoying for me because I don't get a chance to criticize Obama myself, busy as I continually am defending him from these clowns. The bastards are making me totally conventional!

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