The Pentagon has been engineering destabilizing attacks on sovereign foreign governments for decades. courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Airstrikes in Syria an example of US’s double standard

On Feb. 25, the United States launched an airstrike on a military base in Syria, targeting a base used by an Iranian-backed militia. At least one person was killed according to an Iraqi military official. According to the Pentagon, the airstrike was a response to attacks on a U.S.-controlled military base in Iraq. Syria condemned the attack as an act of U.S. aggression.

Last week also saw the release of a U.S. report revealing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as an organizer of the attack that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi was a Washington Post journalist and critic of the Saudi Prince who was killed and dismembered in 2018. The Biden administration has confirmed that no direct punishment will be given to the Saudi Crown, despite the recent revelation. A visa ban for MBS would typically be the bare minimum for such an awful offense, but this is not on the table for the administration.

By the U.S.’s own admission, Saudi Arabia is willing to use lethal force against nonviolent political opponents. Similar charges are constantly leveled at Iran, though the U.S. is far from a nonviolent political opponent. Either way, why is one a close ally and another part of the so-called axis of evil?

Western opposition to Iran goes back decades, starting particularly with the British and American coup in 1953. After Prime Minister Mosaddegh nationalized the nation’s petroleum industry, Britain and the U.S. engineered a reactionary coup to install Shah Pahlavi. In 2010, the U.S. was discovered to be collaborating with Israel in a sophisticated hacking operation targeted at Iran’s nuclear program.

President Biden said that the airstrike in Syria was to tell Iran that it “can’t act with impunity.” Is plotting the murder of an innocent journalist not “acting with impunity?” Becoming a close ally with America is in effect a license to act with impunity. Any government deemed strategically or economically important is allowed to act however they wish so long as they fulfill the role the U.S. has set for them.

One of the reasons America retains its allyship with Saudi Arabia, in fact, is to boost strength in their joint action towards Iran. According to the New York Times, there was a “consensus developed inside the White House that the cost of [punishing MBS for the killing Khashoggi], in Saudi cooperation on … confronting Iran, was simply too high.” In other words, leverage against Iran is more important than holding a powerful murderer to account.

I don’t mean to suggest that America ought to begin airstrikes on Saudi Arabia. If America responded with violence and heavy-handed intervention to every evil in the world, the destruction would be too great for prosperity to ever grow. However, when analyzing the actions of the U.S. abroad, a pattern is easily discernible. There is impunity for allies, brutal sanctions and attacks for enemies. Opposition to Iran is not founded on moral grounds; the U.S. clearly has no qualms with sponsoring terror abroad.

In a rare glimmer of hope, some Democratic lawmakers have offered condemnations of the recent airstrike. Representative Ro Khanna said the attack had “no justification” to occur without congressional approval, and reiterated his desire to “extricate from the Middle East, not escalate.” The sector of Congress that opposes this kind of destruction is growing with every election, though congressional control is not enough to prevent baseless attacks; this one occurred without congressional approval. Most Republicans praised the airstrikes, with Senator Rand Paul as the only notable objector.

The Pentagon also claimed the airstrike had “de-escalation” within Syria and Iraq as one of its goals. I can only imagine the amount of D.C. brainwashing it takes to swallow the doublethink of a de-escalating airstrike. If de-escalation is truly on the minds of the Pentagon, immediate and full withdrawal from Iraq and Syria is the only option.

Dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in 2018. courtesy Wikimedia Commons tucollegian | Collegian

Post Author: Justin Klopfer