It was quite amazing to watch reports from Syria this week by US news channel CNN. American bombing of a remaining redoubt of the ISIS terror group near Baghouz on the border with Iraq was presented as some kind of heroic final onslaught against the terror group.
The inversion of reality is a staggering case study in propaganda and “perception management” under the guise of “free media”.
CNN broadcast on-the-ground reports from its correspondent Ben Wedeman in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province. In the background were evident signs, according to the channel’s video footage, that the US air force was dropping white phosphorus incendiary munitions in support of the offensive against militants.
Indiscriminate use of white phosphorus bombs is arguably a war crime. Yet the US media openly reported this as if it was a legitimate war operation in order to “defeat terrorism”.
Nothing in the CNN reportage suggested anything illegal about the US military campaign. On the contrary, the events were presented as a valorous attempt to “defeat ISIS”.
There are several reasons why this latest US military operation in eastern Syria is disturbing, not least because of mounting civilian deaths as a result of American air strikes.
For a start, American military presence in Syria is a gross violation of international law. The US has no legal mandate to be in that country, operating their since 2015, either as ground forces or warplanes.
Secondly, it is well-documented that Washington has been covertly funneling military aid to various anti-government militia, including terrorist groups like ISIS, in a bid to overthrow the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad. This has been conducted as part of an eight-year covert war sponsored by Washington and its allies for illegal regime change against the sovereign government in Damascus.
President Trump has given orders for US forces to withdraw from Syria. He says it’s time to bring “our boys” home. As if “our boys” have performed a noble duty there. The fact is American forces in Syria constitute a war crime. They shouldn’t even be there.
So, belated US media reports of American forces bearing down on the remnants of ISIS in eastern Syria are, to say the least,