Are they cynical or just stupid?

13 Dec

Yup, Syria again. Hate to be a bore but there are worse things. Like conducting air strikes, in my name and yours, on yet another Muslim country based on a narrative so far-fetched in its fairy tale reductionism that those with some idea of what’s really going down are left wondering – again – whether our leaders are monumentally cynical or incredibly stupid. I say it’s both and on my to-do list is the penning of a post dedicated to the psychological mechanisms through which self-serving cynicism begets its very own forms of stupidity.

Meanwhile, for a swift but comprehensive and not intelligence-insulting summary of the Syria sitch, you can do worse than turn to the ever excellent CounterPunch. Here’s an extract from a piece yesterday. I do recommend reading it in full though.

The Syrian war requires a certain suspension of rational thought. For instance, the Americans are unhappy with the Russians for bombing the anti-Assad Army of Conquest, a rebel alliance dominated by the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria. That would be the same al-Qaeda that brought down the World Trade Center towers and that the U.S. is currently bombing in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

Suspension of rational thought is not limited to Syria. A number of Arab countries initially joined the U.S. air war against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, because both organizations are pledged to overthrow the Gulf monarchies. But Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar have now dropped out to concentrate their air power on bombing the Houthis in Yemen.

The Houthis, however, are by far the most effective force fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda in Yemen. Both extremist organizations have made major gains in the last few weeks because the Houthis are too busy defending themselves to take them on.

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