In 2003, the U.S. government decided to go to war against Iraq. A huge propaganda was launched to convince the world with a cause: "The dictator Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, and he must be made to fall."
The world watched a marketing machine promoting a very unnoble cause wrapped in a gift paper. President G.W. Bush sold an idea to the world "the Liberators & the Democracy setters are coming". Troops marched into the land of Babylonian beauty, into an ancient country where Alexander the Great once wept as he saw the breadth of his domain. Young soldiers, from far off continents and countries, lost life and limb, following orders and a mirage; The mirage of weapons of mass destruction. Over 600,000 civilians were killed in the name of saving Iraqis from the dictator, and saving the world from weapons of mass destruction, and Iraq was lost.
If the people were given a choice they would have chosen a dictator and a life, but modern Colonialism does not give a choice. Saddam Hussein was executed, and so was Iraq. Today we look at the shreds of a country with regret, as millions of Iraqis jumped off a sinking boat to live as refugees in many unwelcoming Middle Eastern and Western countries, leaving behind a life they once knew, shards which once was their country.
Had they been given a choice, they would have chosen the dictator, with a country and stable life as a bonus rather than lose it all. For most of them, living with known demons, a stable present, and a clear future was far better than unknown demons that shatter the very basis of their present life and obliterates any hope for any future.
The Bush administration admitted: weapons of mass destruction were not found.
And 10 years later, the weapons of mass destruction still had not been found, and almost everyone who shared directly or indirectly in sending troops to Iraq has conceded that WMD were never there in the first place, and numerous post war, in-depth investigations had taken place for that very same reason, yet, shockingly enough, the same make-believe war fabrication by yet another American administration is taking place again, but the cast has changed.
Syria, another enchanting land, prosperous and rapidly developing. Syria, another country ruled by a dictator; Bashar El Asad, a dictator who had managed to put a successful plan for his developing country, making it self-sufficient in many aspects; economically to be the only country in the region that does not import grain as a strategic commodity for example, logistically bordering Lebanon and Iran so getting a united Shiite front, and Strategically standing up to its opponents, having a solid strong army, and refusing the presence of an American base on Syrian soil.
This time, this dictator would not surrender, he refused to walk the Green Mile together with his country.
Twenty-nine months ago, Syrians woke up to an unfamiliar motto: "The Arab Spring," a term despised by nearly everyone except the Western Media, which refers to the call for change. The disguised "Arab Springers" this time were the so called "Free Syrian Army", a cocktail of Islamist extremists coming over from Al Qaeda, The Muslim Brotherhood, Hammas and Afghanistan, among others, calling for Al Asad to step down. With Egypt drowning with its Muslim Brotherhood presidential mismanagement fiasco, many Syrians held dearly to Al Asad for life and for fear of the same fate.
But the world watched and cheered on the rebels, without stopping to wonder where the sophisticated weapons and ammunition were coming from, what ideology were they adopting, that which primarily focused on beheading all its opponents (yes, in this day and age, beheadings, gruesome, captured on happy spectators' phones and cameras).
Diabolic and evil as they are known to be, those extremists-so-called Free Army ripped the country to pieces, brutally murdering, defacing and mutilating civilians, bombing and setting fires, mass murders and hijacking. The music that was once heard in ancient Syrian alleys was replaced with the darkness that veiled a country that once never slept, darkness created by terrorists who now called themselves "rebels".
On the 23rd of August, chemical weapons, Sarin gas, were used in Syria, yet no one knows for sure which side was responsible. The Asad regime and the terrorists/rebels blamed each other, the truth remains unknown.
The Obama administration put its game face on and said "Let's go to war", a very familiar show of power that manifests itself every several years. The drums of war sounded in the four corners of the world, but this time the US power masters knew with no ounce of doubt that a very high price will be paid; Russia will not silently watch, nor will China and North Korea who were quick to announce their full support of the Asad regime, while Iran directed its guns towards Israel. For fear of doing it alone, Obama decided not to stain his hands only, he called for European support, but Europeans would not be cheated into another war that would cost them precious blood fighting with no cause, and draining their treasury. They stood up to their governments and said No, it seemed after all that Obama's make-believe movie-like "Syria Sequel" to the Iraq Saga was not selling well at the box office this time. Things were not going to be repeated only because government heads sitting in offices behind closed doors choose to, the people's consent was paramount this time, and it was not there to be given. The people defeated their governments' questionable intentions; "Defeated" is the word
So what is the Truth?
When the American administration repeatedly announces that it is America's national interest in Syria that is being threatened, what does that mean? In what sense can we, citizens of the world, the free world, understand that a super power such as the US, is intervening in Syria, to protect its national interests?
All over the world corrupt and extremist governments are committing atrocities similar to or worse than the war atrocities in Syria. In Asia, Africa, and South America, the list of countries where innocent citizens are suffering or dying is long, very long, but we don't see America or Europe blowing their horns over that, and the reason is lack of "national interest".
So people can die all over the world, from acts of extreme persecution, violence, and torture, systematically organised and condoned by their governments, but it wouldn't catch the headlines, it wouldn't turn heads, it wouldn't call leaders to emergency UN security council meetings, it wouldn't stir up demonstrations, it wouldn't make up for a good disguised excuse for leaders of the free world to speak up and condemn, and warn, and threat, and rally national and international support to go to war. No it wouldn't because it simply doesn't, that is, doesn't constitute a "National Interest", but Syria does?
Or maybe not, the US "National interest" lies in different aspects and on different levels when it comes to the Syrian case and a number of possible reasons accordingly arise; Acquire a new foothold in the Middle East since Iraq and nearby Afghanistan are not doing that well, Make an ally of Sunnis to fight against the Shiites of Iran and Hezbollah, destroy one of the last 2 remaining strong armies in the region leaving only the Egyptian one, kick the only Russian base in the Middle East out, Control one of the countries neighbouring Israel, Exploit the rich country resources including the water resources from the Euphrates for a possible future war for water, and if all fails it would be all about sending another Arab country into mayhem and leaving it open for civil war and for its own citizens to tear the country down, and in doing so, imports all sorts of arms from the US, and destabilize the region more, paving the way for further future US intervention.
But The last reason that would ever cross one's mind, in the age of political saaviness, social media, uploaded and streamed footage and illuminate global youth generations, is the image of America the Messiah, drawing her sword to avenge the murder of 1429 Syrian civilians, A quick look on the number of times the Western military, including US military or under her consent, used weapons of mass destruction and we know where the truth lies, and we don't have to dig deep in history, it as recent as the Nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, American atomic bombs killing over 180,000 civilians immediately and hundreds of thousands dying later by radiation poisoning, then there was the use of "Agent Orange" in Vietnam, again the US military dropped over 20 million gallons of the deadly chemical killing over 400,000 Vietnamese and over 500,000 babies later born disfigured, and as a final example, in the 1991 and 2003 invasions of Iraq, the US military used depleted Uranium, a chemically and radioactive waste product of nuclear energy, which led to high cancer rates and congenital deformities among Iraqi civilians and US soldiers alike. Between 1000 to 2000 metric tons of depleted Uranium in 2003 where fired by The US army.
So do not tell us Mr Obama that you are doing this to help the Syrians who didn't ask for your intervention (only the savage murderous rebels did) and whose lives will be first to be lost in any warfare instigated by the US and its allies. You asked for the consent of the American people to proceed with a military strike on Syria but didn't ask the Syrians for their consent to invade their land and lives, So how far can the truth behind the real reasons to go to war, and the aftermath of such, remain concealed this time?.
This time the whole world is watching again deluded mothers as they say their last goodbyes to sons they might never see? and children as they receive fathers in coffins? How many more civilians will be killed in the process and under the false pretence of stepping in to protect the people of a country who didn't ask for help in the first place? when will they look at Egypt to learn a thing or two, Egyptian made problems gets solved by Egyptians, Not by other Arabs or by Americans or by Europeans, such is the case in Egypt, such should be the case in Syria and other countries, so leave Syrians to set the course that will suit them and for a future they can live through.
Give Syria the chance to be left alone to decide how to change its present and shape its future.
Touta, independent Egyptologist for over 20 years, is a popular speaker and lecturer at some of Egypt's universities and international organizations. Touta lives in Egypt and is an advocate of women rights, secularism and civil transitions in evolving democracies.