Op-Ed by Brandon Turbeville
In an interview with CBS’ Face The Nation, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was briefly asked about the view of the military when it comes to civilian casualties as it stands with America’s alleged new strategy of “annihilation” of ISIS. Mattis briefly responded with feigned sorrow at the loss of innocent life that “Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation. We do everything humanly possible consistent with military necessity, taking many chances to avoid civilian casualties at all costs. The American people and the American military will never get used to civilian casualties. And we will – we will fight against that every way we can possibly bring our intelligence and our tactics to bear.”
As Americans, we have been hearing rhetoric like this for many years. In fact, our society has become so habituated to our own aggression and violence as well as being so culturally degraded that statements of “acceptable casualties” and “collateral damage” actually rings as something representative of a strong leader and a dominant military in the ears of many. Such is an unfortunate reality.
However, since both the Secretary of Defense and the American public have accepted the concept that civilians will be killed in military conflict and that the deaths of innocent people are “facts of life,” then why, we must ask, is it a war crime if Syrian or Russian airstrikes accidentally kill civilians?
After all, throughout the entirety of the Syrian conflict, the Syrian military has been publicly crucified for any civilian deaths that may have come about as a result of airstrikes targeting Western-backed terrorists. Likewise, after the Russians joined the fray, the Western corporate press simply couldn’t get enough of blaming Russia for civilian casualties as if Russia was intentionally targeting innocent people.
Western media has long been alight with reports of Assad’s “barrel bombs” that “indiscriminately kill civilians.” Now, however, corporate outlets are working overtime to suggest that Assad’s bombs are killing hundreds of civilians a day as the Syrian military marches toward Raqqa. This is not surprising since the Syrian military is now engaged in an offensive that could spell the end of Western machinations in the country.
Following Mattis’ logic and putting aside the fact that the overwhelming majority of the mainstream corporate media’s claims can be debunked by the statistics of the war and the facts on the ground (the Syrian military has always attempted surgical strikes in order to minimize loss of civilian life), why, exactly, should it matter? In the words of the infamous warmonger Hillary Clinton, what difference does it make? If Syria and Russia really are killing civilians in their operations against ISIS, isn’t that “unavoidable?” Aren’t the civilian deaths a “fact of life?” So why should the western pundits and/or the Western public be so upset about it? Russia and Syria are only doing what the United States openly admits it has done and will continue doing.
What we have here is yet another typical case of unmitigated hypocrisy on the part of the United States. Civilian deaths at the hands of Russia and Syria, accidental as they may be, are considered war crimes. Civilian deaths at the hands of the United States, with little concern as to how many are produced, are simply considered facts of life.
With Mattis’ logic in mind, Americans should be thankful that the next time the United States bombs a marketplace full of civilians or otherwise finds creative ways to murder innocent people in faraway places, Putin will not be obligated to launch missiles at American airbases.
But it does seem that Mattis has officially undercut his administration’s alleged rage at the death of civilians and thus any complaint it publicly claims it has against the Assad government or Russia in general. Don’t expect such glaring hypocrisy to stop the United States, however. It never has in the past.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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