Debate over Syria shows Americans' growing distrust of US government

As global powers bicker over military involvement in Syria, another problem is brewing in the U.S.: the official narrative has become a joke Photo: Putin and Obama meet at G20 summit Thursday / AP Photo

DALLAS, September 5, 2013 — The international climate is heating up this week, and for once no one is blaming global warming. However, there’s certainly been no shortage of blame.

President Obama and top U.S. officials are blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a chemical weapons strike that left up to 1,400 people dead on August 21.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is blaming members of Parliament for voting down a proposal to authorize military intervention in Syria and, in his own words, for “failing to take a stand against the gassing of children.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin is blaming the U.S. for failing to release convincing evidence of the Assad regime’s responsibility for the attacks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is blaming Russia for holding up UN action on Syria. Putin took a personal swipe at Kerry on Wednesday, essentially calling him a liar, after Kerry tried to downplay Al-Qaeda support for the Syrian rebel army.

The long and short of it is, everyone in the international community seems to have a bone to pick with someone, which has made for a particularly exciting G20 Summit today, as world leaders are meeting in St. Petersburg to discuss the global economy.

However, aside from these international squabbles, the American people have a very pretty big bone of their own to pick with the US government, and judging by recent polls, and a plethora of angry callers hanging on the c-span phone lines, it’s getting serious.

Good morning,” began the first caller on the c-span morning program today. “First of all, I would like to say that I do not believe anything that comes out of my government’s mouth.”

This arresting statement was to be just one of many like it. Anyone who managed to tune into c-span’s morning programs this week probably noticed one alarming trend that stuck out like a sore thumb from the show’s ordinary hum-drum routine: the program was tense with the massive disconnect between the callers on the phone and the official narrative.

On Tuesday, a Pew Research poll was released, showing that just 29 percent of Americans support US military action in Syria in response to recent reports of chemical weapons attacks conducted by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. 48 percent were decidedly opposed and 23 percent were unsure. 53 percent thought the evidence showed the Assad regime was responsible for the attacks, with 47 percent either unsure or convinced that rebel groups were responsible for the use of the chemical weapons. 74 percent said the proposed airstrikes would create a backlash against the US and its allies in the Middle East. Only 33 percent thought the strikes would be effective in prohibiting future use of chemical weapons.

Given that top executives claim to be so convinced of the Assad regime’s culpability in the recent attacks, and the responsibility of the US to launch an attack, it’s nothing short of disheartening to see how unconvinced the public remains. The divide shows that a root of deep bitterness has wedged itself into US public affairs and demonstrates the far-reaching cynicism that has resulted from a decade of broken promises and glib deceits. The words, “a long train of abuses and usurpations,” come to mind.

C-span callers over the past few days have posed a list of good questions. Why is the US so concerned about chemical weapon use in Syria when the Reagan administration did not oppose Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapon use in 1988 in the Iran-Iraq War?

Why is this incident of such pressing importance when the U.S. government had no qualms about using napalm in Vietnamese villages during the Vietnam War?

Why is this the one issue that must be addressed with military force when uninvolved civilians are being killed every day in conflicts all over the world?

Why is this the trigger for military action when it accounts for less than 1 percent of the deaths that have resulted from the Syrian civil war since 2011?

Callers who asked these questions weren’t provided with any suitable explanations that would lend meaning to the seemingly ever-changing values system of the US government.

Surprisingly, government officials seem largely unconcerned by their apparent inability to effectively communicate with the American people. Even following the Tuesday release of the frightening poll results, there seems to be no hard will to heal the rift in the nation and regain the trust of constituents. This is evidenced by the reticence officials have shown regarding the release of the compelling evidence they claim to possess.

Meeting with his council on human rights Wednesday, Putin claimed that Syrian dictator Assad’s main combat opponents are essentially an Al Qaeda command. The Russian President expressed concerns that resonate deeply with many concerned Americans, as more videos continue to surface across social media networks depicting the brutality and radicalism of rebel forces.

The most recent disturbing video depicts seven bound captives from Assad’s military kneeling before Syrian rebels. The prisoners’ bared backs are marked with red welts and their faces pressed into the dirt. After announcing their revenge, the rebels shoot each of the captives in the head, one by one.

This is only one of many videos that have been released depicting disturbing violence on the part of the rebel forces. One such video shows the graphic beheading of a Catholic priest. Another depicts the killing of two young boys. Many show beatings and tortures performed on prisoners captured from Assad’s army. In what is possibly the most revolting to date, a rebel commander cuts the heart and liver out of a slain enemy and eats it in front of the camera.

In June, a 14-year old boy in the Northern Syrian city of Aleppo, who was accused of blaspheming the Muslim prophet Muhammad, was flogged and executed by rebel forces. When the Islamic extremists were driving by the boy’s coffee-stand on the street, they reportedly overhead him making a joke that referenced the prophet. The boy was seized by the rebel gunmen and taken to an unknown location where he was beaten and tortured. He was returned with his body slashed with the marks of a whip and a shirt tied around his head. He was then shot repeatedly in front of a crowd. Grisly photos were released of his bloodied body, a gaping hole all that remains of his nose and mouth.

On Wednesday, John Kerry told Congress that only “15 to 25 percent” of the rebel forces are extremists. Texas Representative Michael McCaul responded, reminding Kerry that he had been told in briefings that half of the rebels were estimated to be extremists.

“He lies openly, and he knows that he lies,” said Russian President Putin of Kerry. “This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them [the Americans] and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.”


SEE RELATED: Putin’s contempt for Obama will drive the G20 summit


What’s even sadder is that the American people, with their confidence in their elected officials quickly spiraling into mistrust, are finding themselves wondering if Putin is right.  

What’s saddest of all is that their elected officials don’t really seem to care.

An author, history buff, self-taught artist, and enthusiastic autodidact, Bryana brings her always politically incorrect and usually passionate views about politics and the theory of government to her readers. In addition to writing for the TWTC, she also maintains the official High Tide Journal at www.thehightide.com and writes about literature and the world’s great Lover at www.bryanajohnson.com


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Bryana Johnson

Passionate about liberty, and the theory of government, Bryana serves as the vice president of a local political club and reports on political happenings around the globe.
 
In addition to her political activities, Bryana has won prizes in multiple poetry contests and her first poetry collection, Having Decided To Stay, was released in 2012. She writes regularly about the good life, literature and the world’s great Lover over at www.bryanajohnson.com. You can follow her on twitter at @_Bryana_Johnson and on facebook. 

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