The neocon Syrian “regime change” fanatics are not going to go gently into that dark night, it seems. At least not without flinging a few last bits of bile through the interwebs. The latest focus of their ire has been Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, whose recent trip to Damascus on a fact-finding mission about the toll the war has taken on the Syrian people has sent the regime-changers into paroxysms of rage.
Gabbard’s courageous trip was something of an achievement among the craven-hearted folk in Washington. For five years, American money, weapons, and diplomatic cover have stoked the fires of the Syrian war and kept them burning brightly. No legislators have been willing to confront the brutal reality of what their policies have produced for the people of the region. And why should they? Their job is to do what John McCain and the lobbyists in Washington tell them to do, not to think independently.
— Walid (@walid970721) January 17, 2017
In her trip, Gabbard toured the devastation wrought by the instruments of US policies; she met with President Assad and tweeted her support of Russian attacks on ISIS and other fundamentalist opposition groups. Gabbard’s trip was a sign that a sea-change in US policy might be on the horizon; by any measure the trip was successful in bringing the carnage of the war to the attention of the US public. But to the regime-change marionettes in the US media, this was unforgivable.
The people of Syria are crying for peace, asking the US to stop arming terrorist “rebels” who are destroying Syria. https://t.co/tu0O5ThBvc
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 25, 2017
Typical of the response was an article by journalist Noah Rothman published under the title “Tulsi Gabbard’s Disaster In Damascus.” One can almost see the flecks of spittle flying off Rothman’s mouth as one reads the piece. The opening paragraph gives a flavor of the whole:
The simplest way to identify Russian sympathizers is to probe them on the matter of military interventionism. They may appear principled in their suspicion toward American force projection but are nowhere near as apprehensive about Russian muscle-flexing—even in the same theater of operations. That describes the foreign policy views of Hawaii Congresswoman and favorite of the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, Tulsi Gabbard. Following an ill-conceived visit to the Syrian capital to meet with the blood-soaked dictator Bashar al-Assad this week, her craven prostration before Russia’s vassals may have gone too far. Even Gabbard’s erstwhile allies are abandoning her.
Rothman goes on to berate Gabbard for having the temerity to oppose a “no-fly zone” (a favorite tool of regime-change gamers) and other forms of aggression against a sovereign state. He then bewails the uncounted numbers of Syrians killed in the conflict. The hypocrisy and mendacity dripping from the article would be shocking, were they not so routine from the fantasy world of the regime-change gamers. Those who live in the real world know who was responsible for the war and its atrocities.
Tulsi is so badass. She basically told CNN’s Jake Tapper that his opinion on Assad is irrelevant. Only what Syrians think of him matters. pic.twitter.com/YR6XIH6vdH
— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) January 26, 2017
As Rothman knows very well, it was the United States and its regional allies (Turkey, Israel, and the Gulf States) who launched the Syrian war, kindled its fires, and kept it going for five bloody years. Each actor had a role to play: Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States were to recruit head-chopping fanatics and mercenaries from all over the globe and pay their bills; Turkey would provide the routes of infiltration and lines of supply into Syria from the north; Israel would provide the signals intelligence, surveillance, and occasional airstrikes; and the United States would wring its hands at the UN to gain sympathy for a political “solution” (i.e., regime change through negotiation).
Regime change was the goal, and it was done for the purpose of installing a regional puppet in Syria that would do the bidding of the US and Israel. Assad’s crime, of course, was that he and his allies opposed US policies in the region. In the logic of Washington, unless you permit your country to become a Western economic and military vassal, you are an enemy who must be destroyed. Independent nationalism is the real threat; every other pretext for regime change is just window-dressing to this end.
But, alas, things did not go as planned for the regime-changers. They were outplayed at the game by Assad, who had friends of his own to call in for backup (Iran, Russia, Hizballah) and were not going to allow the foreign conspiracy against Damascus to succeed. The writing on the wall was pretty much clear to everyone after Aleppo was retaken by the Syrian Army in late 2016.
So what can the regime-changers do at this point? Not much besides mudslinging and name-calling. To this end, they have tried to present Gabbard’s trip as a boondoggle, when in fact it was nothing of the sort. It was a long-overdue act of political and moral courage from the Washington establishment.
While we will never get a mea culpa from the people who started and sustained the war, Gabbard’s trip at least begins the process of recognizing the horrific human cost of the West’s regime-change project.