All of the liberal left, and much of the far left, have lined up in a de facto endorsement of the West’s dirty war on Syria. Some – like Workers Power and SWP – ignore those with proof that the allegations on which public consent to that dirty war has been manufactured. Others – like Owen Jones, George Monbiot and the “unrepentant marxist” Louis Proyect – go out of their way to vilify them.
It has been left to old fashioned liberals and conservatives to speak out at such affronts to truth and threats to peace. Think Tucker Carlson at Fox News, former UK Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford and former CIA Officer Philip Giraldi.
Think Peter Hitchens. I’m less sure than he is of Bashar al-Assad’s “butchery” but my opposition to ‘our’ violence in the Middle East has never been based on a belief that the Arab and Persian leaders targeted are goodness incarnate. In any case such questions come second to the fact of Hitchens’ courageous refusal to subordinate truth to career strategy at a time when such refusal is rare indeed amid the ranks of corporate journalism.
Here’s how Hitchens opens his Mail column today:
I’m publishing the document that could save us from war
Long ago, a wise teacher told me to remember these words: ‘Truth is the Daughter of Time, not of Authority.’ I had no idea how important they were. Now, after many years of experiencing official dishonesty, they are my motto.
One day, a lot of other people, in the media and politics, will accept that in the past few months they have failed in their duty to the truth, by staying silent or – worse – joining in a braying attempt to suppress crucial facts.
But by then it is quite possible that the peoples of the Western world will have been whipped into a warlike frenzy by false information, just as happened in the Iraq disaster 17 years ago. Because if nothing is done about the scandal I have been writing about, such an outcome is highly possible, even likely.
A few months ago I was told of an attempt by authority to suppress an important truth about an alleged atrocity in Syria. Claims that poison gas had been used by the Syrian state at Douma in April 2018 were not, in fact, confirmed by the scientific evidence.
This was deeply embarrassing to three governments – our own, France’s and the USA, all of which had bombed Syria soon afterwards in the unchecked belief that the claims were true.
All three are members of the UN Security Council, and are supposed to uphold international law with special care. But the facts suggested they had all violated that law.
I did not much welcome the knowledge. It was frightening to possess it. I knew that if I published it, I would face trouble. But I had to.
And I duly did. I was immediately smeared on social media as a ‘war crimes denier’, an absurd accusation. I was falsely accused of being a patsy for the horrible Assad regime in Syria, despite my record of hostility to the Assads going back more than 20 years.
I actually have a more consistent anti-Assad record than the British Government, which in 2002 compelled the poor Queen to invite President Bashar Assad to Buckingham Palace.