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US Response to Syrian Civil War and Refugee Crisis Is Telling


US Response to Syrian Civil War and Refugee Crisis Is Telling

Ivan Eland

The American response to the Syrian civil war and resulting refugee crisis should illustrate to all the unfortunate militarization of U.S. foreign policy. The nation's anti-militaristic founders -- who blanched at the militarism of European kings and thus refused, in the U.S. Constitution, even to authorize a standing army -- would be horrified.


There wouldn't be so much resistance to bringing in refugees if governments all over weren't instituting "austerity" measures and putting people out of work with no safety net. I support bringing refugees in, but i also support, as the author says, putting money back in our own countries and out of the business of war.


I find these frames disingenuous and distorting:

"Of course, if Americans really wanted to show respect for military personnel, instead of giving them discounted baseball tickets and preferred airline boarding, they would have the courage to stop their politicians and media from peddling the fear that gets American service men and women sent to perform military social work in foreign lands, such as the brushfire wars of occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Iraq again."

The American public, first of all, is not all composed of the same thread to form some uniform garment.

How much agency do the citizens of Egypt have with an ostensible Military running their government? The only difference between the obvious lock-down on citizens there and what goes on in the U.S. is branding, and the fact that so far--that standing army the Founders opposed is dispersed through all sorts of FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, TSA, Police, Sheriff, Marine patrol, and OTHER armed departments that answer to State Power.

In top-down systems of control like ours, citizen compliance is facilitated through media falsehoods that indoctrinate populations, a financial system that has MOST citizens struggling to keep bills paid, the appendages of representative rule (congress, elections) still in place to largely serve as facades, and actual Muscle in the form of all those armed guards earlier mentioned. Oh, there's also the highest incarceration rate in the world to serve as an added deterrent to disobedience.

In these sorts of authoritarian top-down arrangements, particularly when today's managers represent banks, corporations with more capital than entire nations, and the upper echelon of the MIC--citizens have very little agency. So this idea that it's that the public WANTS wars, or that the public isn't stopping wars, and other one-size-fits-all generalities are PURE CRAP.

Yesterday, Robert Parry set culpability where it belongs: with the Neo cons and their "liberal hawk" enablers.

Other writers are ready, willing, and able to move past the generic blame game into who's really running the show.

If all this people power were fully operational and all citizens held the same positions, the minimum wage would be higher, Monsanto would be out of business, the $ trillions handed over to banks would have instead shored up the security of the citizenry, etc.

Airline management (American Airlines comes to mind with its constant tribute to "our troops" in its in-flight magazine) gives troops discounted tickets. The average citizen has NO role in that!

In any fascist state as corporations fuse into government, a military is vital in order to make the will of the oligarchs the duty of the people. Taking the obvious pervasiveness of THAT dynamic and turning it around to suggest that this is what citizens want (a few do), and what citizens (rather than powerful entities) are doing is pure propaganda.



It is no secret that CIA has writers and journalists on its payroll. It is also no secret that entities like ALEC (along with muscular corporations) pay think tanks to come up with nifty sounding organizations that ultimately do the sponsoring corporations' bidding. The names of such organizations usually belie their motives and purposes. Also true is the fact that I.T. specialists and low tier writers are salaried to leave messages on all sorts of Internet opinion threads.

With all that being said, it's my view that this writer (Ivan Eland) falls into one of those camps.

It is patently absurd, and suggests the ultimate in apologias to power to place the powerful influence of a media drenched in propaganda (much of it speaking to the limbic brain, which is to say the instinctive emotional response system that is NOT filtered by critical thought) aside; and to then take its pervasive influence over citizens (newly impacted by Trauma, in the form of the 911 Inside Job); and then from that mass mind control phenomena argue that citizens arrived at their pro-war stances by some automatic, magical reflex (as if this is a flaw found universally in American citizens).

Goebbels made it quite clear: That no citizen wants war. However, many can be convinced of its need if a direct threat to them is repeated often. THAT was the job of the media side of the military-industrial-media complex.

Citizens didn't manufacture 911.

Citizens did not manufacture the hysteria--which the back-up of the Anthrax letters to the constant showing of imploding buildings was orchestrated to do!

Citizens are told they live in a free and open society answerable to law and under operating Democratic principles. That's why a great many persons would never believe that their own respected journalists (many being media luminaries), military "leaders" (like Colin Powell), and leaders of BOTH parties would ALL lie to them.

How is it that the lies from high places, the mass media in its potency to deceive, and the already mestasticized growth of the MIC are NOT of concern to Mr. Eland? In the place of ACTUAL causative agencies, he posits that same "blame citizens" or all Americas that is so popular to this site's "regulars."

This tendency to blame those without the power to shift policy is very popular. It's seen when news departments look for flaws in the Black kid gunned down by disproportionate force, and evident to lots of this forum's regulars when efforts are made to insist that Israel and Palestine are "two co-equal sides" of a conflict.

Asymmetric power is THE CASE when elites command the armed forces, run the courts, dole out pittances for labor, enrich their 1% peers on the backs of workers, poison too much of the commons and then charge phenomenal fees for health "care," control the media and fire, humiliate, or legally harass any who don't stay on Message, etc. WHERE is the citizen the "decider" in this top-down nexus?


"All of this chest beating jingoism on the part of the American political class (backed by the media and the public) is in stark contrast to the caution with which politicians of both parties are approaching the taking in of Syrian refugees from a civil war in which the United States is now an active participant."

The above does all of the following:

  1. Attributes the jingoism of the political class to the public
  2. Attributes the political class backed by the media--not to its manufacture of consent for wars, but rather, argues that the consent is already there
  3. Paints with a singular brushstroke to fabricate the illusion that ALL citizens (as opposed to the same angry, gun-loving, white guys that fill NRA conventions or back Trump, Mr. Fascist Lite) support war

ZERO mention of the following:

  1. Anyone who openly challenged the false flag was tarred and feathered
  2. The run-up to already planned wars (as in Downing St. Memo: Case fixed for war) allowing NO pro-peace voices on T.V.
  3. The firing of Phil Donahue for the mere mention of peace
  4. The humiliation to the Dixie Chics for being ashamed of Bush (for his War Fever)
  5. The full press support of LIES told often
  6. The years of Hollywood conditioning to wars against dark, dangerous Arabs (replacing the prior stereotyped Russian evil doers)
  7. The entire sports culture that PROGRAMS a love for one's team, a wish to "slaughter" the enemy (team), a group-think apparatus answerable to the coach/drill sergeant/father figure
  8. The dangerous coupling of vigorous religious (right) support for (holy) wars


Just blame all those U.S. citizens... as if women, Blacks, Latinos, incarcerated kids, the elderly all want war.

WAR is the white man's act of last resort to wipe out any alternatives to his hegemony and the paradigm the HIS-tory of conquest, rape, pillage, plunder, and abuse (via LOTS of fancy weaponry) has built and still STRAINS to preserve.

No. You do not speak for me or millions, if not billions who do NOT see war as the force that gives our lives meaning, or is inevitable, part of human nature, or something to waste trillions $ on... not to mention all the lives left bleeding, brutalized, and bludgeoned.


I wish Ivan Eland didn't say the "American response" or the American this or that. I wish he would place the blame squarely where it belongs, on the "American conservatives" and their conservative friends and enemies around the world.


As are other commenters, I'm annoyed that Eland blames the American people for the policies and attitudes of its leaders. I looked up a 2013 Pew Poll* on attitudes of ordinary Americans and also its leaders (members of the Council of Foreign Relations).

Here is what the poll found among ordinary Americans: "Currently, 52% say the United States 'should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.'"

In contrast, Council of Foreign relations "...members – unlike the public – continue to support an activist U.S. foreign policy. An overwhelming majority (86%) favors a shared global leadership role for the U.S., and 55% think the country should be the most assertive of the world’s leading nations."

Wouldn't it be interesting if Americans really did have a choice of representatives who actually believed in peaceful coexistence rather than being forced to choose between the lesser of two warmongers?



That is what SR has been saying over and over.


Again, that point has been made by SR ad infinitum. Still, it is troublesome that 48% of Americans are happy with aggressive war.


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"American service men and women sent to perform military social work in
foreign lands, such as the brushfire wars of occupation in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and now Iraq again"

What the hell does this mean? Poor old USA having to put out "brushfire" wars whilst wading through quagmires. Yet again?

The USA has been creating "brushfire" wars since the USS Maine blew up in Havana's harbour, back in 1898. As for Afghanistan, it was the Carter-Brzinski regime that kicked off that one in 1979 by funding the muhajideen to fight a civil war against the socialist Afghhani government. The Russkies came in 6 months LATER.

If the USA doesn't want to carry out "military social work" in foreign lands, it shouldn't de-stabilise them, bomb them and invade them in the first place.

This author is a kid who seems ignorant of history, including economic history. The First World War saved the US economically as did the Second World War, through arms and food purchases by the UK from the USA.


Not just we white men, Tonto.


Interestingly enough, Britain also did not agree with the notion of a standing army for quite a while.


Showing "respect for the troops" was part of a Propaganda campaign formulated by the Pentagon shortly after the Vietnam war. A private PR firm was hired and they had brainstorming sessions where the term "Support the troops" was to be the new slogan.

They then sent out millions of dollars to advertisers, manufactuers and meda outlets to keep repeating that term so that it would be engrained in public conciousness. They did this because they felt the Vietnam war lost when Americans started critiquing the troops. They felt that as long as the Soldier held in high esteem by the Public no real anti-war movement would ever get off the ground.

in other words might I suggest. do NOT support the troops. Support them when they take those uniforms off and vow never to wear them again. Support them as people , but not as soldiers.


US response works because the USA is the Government , one which does not reflect the views of its people.

American does not as it refers to the peoples living within those boundaries amny of them opposed to these wars.


the U.S. response to the Syrian civil war and resulting refugee crisis

This makes it sound as if a Syrian civil war just happened, and that the USA is simply responding to it. Reading this, one would hardly imagine that this war would not be happening at all if not for USA attempts to overthrow and install a puppet regime in Syria. The narrative of this article ignores:-

  • The arming and training of the so called opposition (terrorists)
  • The ongoing bombing that US back Israel has been doing for decades.
  • The false flag that was set up to be the excuse for US military invention that was thwarted by Putin.

The truth is that it is not so much a civil war, but a war by the USA by means of its proxies.


Holy shit SR, that was a pretty emphatic, PURE CRAP! You're feeding the readers on this site more of your "WE" nonsense.

There are enlightened minds in the US - you yourself cited Robert Parry in this response - but the nation is populated for the most part with a willfully ignorant and ill informed people who can rattle off the scores of practically every team in a season of the NFL or the batting average of most lead players in Major League Baseball, but don't have a clue as to who Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein are, or where Syria or Ukraine is on a world map. I not referring to that large part of the US population that is either dirt poor or has just enough to feed and house itself, never mind for effete stimulation. They don't have the time, the means, or the leisure to indulge themselves in mindless amusement. I'm referring to the "WE" who put the self serving politico shits of the duopoly into the high office on state and federal levels, that whole, easily characterized duopolistic scum of the US political order, who they constantly reelect with only a few rare exceptions. They are "WE". The ignorant, self absorbed, voting masses.

I find the comment that you find these frames "disingenuous and distorting" nasty and way off the mark.


That is pretty good copy and i like what u say as well as ur perceptions of the reality we are all facing....annihilation by several means created, installed, and maintained by entirely insane as well as completely nonrepresentative employees of the corporate criminal. That criminal extends to every so called "nationstate" across the planet and dictates the criminal activitities of every single nonrepresentative entity pretending with the help of the willing criminal prostitutes aka "journalists" to be struggling to bring compassion and unity to our deliberately derailed planet.

I always laugh to myself when consumers throw up their hands and say things like "How horrible!" closely followed by "but what do u expect ME to do? I got...kids...."

Take a tip from the best: prepare yourself to take a hit for the planet at any given moment, as the need arises.... Forget yourself and your puny life and everything else that starts with "you".

I also laugh when i read about gun related homicides that are an every minute occurrence across the crime called the USA. Nobody seems to really have a clue about what to actually DO with those weapons of last resort other than shoot any other consumer, which clearly is not helping matters much...

My favorite is when pretend radicals ASK for PERMITS to EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS in public. This is asked of the corporate criminal representatives goon squads, who have clearly demonstrated where THEIR loyalties lie, making sure that all that so effective verbage is voiced....harmlessly to the prevailing criminal regime´s interests....

Are the majority of you really so stupid that you actually believe in asking for permission from the cirminal you are apparently trying to eliminate?

You actually expect me to believe that you think you can have a rational and honest dialogue with known sociopath mass murdering criminals? The same who lied to your face about 911, about Iraq, about Vietnam, about Latin America, about the "Soviet threat", in fact about every single thing you know concerning YOUR foreign as well as domestic policy?

It is YOURS, isn´t it? I mean you are the citizen taxpayer and all....

I have watched from a safe distance the last 20 yrs of fumbling. disoriented, discredited, completely disorganized excuses for a struggle against the known enemy who is extant within every single human society today and i am frankly, fed up now. Any fool can see that the last yrs have been an endless ongoing lie in which the criminals have infiltrated every single institution of government in order to ensure material profits to their corporate interests....one can also readily see and admit that there has been no progressive or holistic impulse to openly attack and defeat the known enemy among us. A lot of people talk a lot, though.

A new global society based on global, not national, but human unity is required. For that to become a reality the criminals that hoid the planet in barbarian bondage will have to be eliminated.

That is all.


"The American response to the Syrian civil war and resulting refugee crisis should illustrate to all the unfortunate militarization of U.S. foreign policy. The nation's anti-militaristic founders -- who blanched at the militarism of European kings and thus refused, in the U.S. Constitution, even to authorize a standing army -- would be horrified."

The USA has become pretty much exactly what the founders feared.


Yes, the American people are responsible for these wars. Everyone who sat on their butts while we were out demonstrating gave silent consent to the Iraq War. Watching the game and shopping took precedence for them.

I was on a flight where the pilot thanked out military for their efforts and as I left the plane I said to the crew: "I just spent 10 years of volunteer time in the Peace Movement serving my country and I would like a thank you too!

Americans view war as a sports event, over there. We owe those refugees everything. If some move to my city I am going to help them. This refugee crisis is not a European problem, it is an American problem foisted on Europe, one never hears this in the news.