Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kathleen Reardon on Syria: Why Should We Believe Them This Time?

Kathleen Reardon asks another very important question about the current round of cowboy war-mongering in D.C.: Why should we believe them this time? As she writes,

Lies got us into the war in Iraq. Lies accompanied massive spying on Americans long before most of us really believed such could be true. To praise and promote the same Masters of the Universe who ruthlessly gutted major underpinnings of the economy in the name of 'competitiveness' during both Democratic and Republican administrations constitutes a continuing lie.

One of the moral consequences of the development of online technology is that it permits the immediate transmission of video evidence like this from the other side of the planet, evidence that convicts and involves me. Having watched that video, I now have no choice except to concern myself with what's going on in Syria. 

As David Kenner is now reporting for Foreign Policy, the immediate reporting of Syrian activists via social media about the use of chemical weapons in their country quickly informed large numbers of people about what's going on in Syria, and has swiftly shaped the response of political leaders in the West. Kenner notes, "This isn't the first time that activists have tried to harness the power of YouTube to advance their cause -- but it is arguably the most successful."

When I read Kenner's article in tandem with Reardon's, it strikes me that one of the primary ways we know when our governments are lying to us--or crossing moral lines, as with the use of chemical weapons--is, and increasingly so, because citizen bloggers using the tools of online communication are informing us about these issues. While traditional journalistic venues continue to fail to do this, and increasingly so, as they become more and more co-opted by the socioeconomic elites running a brave new world in which permanent instability and warfare now seems to be status quo.

As Alex Pareene points out at Salon, we're not going to get new responses to situations like Syria from the American government, regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans control it, as long as the government continues to be controlled by elites. Who don't give a flip about what the public thinks, when public sentiment conflicts with the self-interest of the elites . . . .

Note that Kathleen Reardon places responsibility for the mess the U.S. finds itself in politically (and morally) squarely on the shoulders of both Republicans and Democrats, since, as she rightly notes, the Masters of the Universe of both parties have ruthlessly gutted major underpinnings of the economy in the name of "competitiveness" and the "free market" and the god of "innovative entrepreneurship." 

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