As we edge closer to what is a virtually unstoppable march toward bombing Syria, the United States continues to throw out whatever rhetoric it can to justify a military strike on the Assad regime and look like the world’s good guy. More of this happened today:
America “recognizes that if the international community fails to maintain certain norms, standards, laws, governing how countries interact and how people are treated, that over time this world becomes less safe,” Obama said. “It becomes more dangerous not only for those people who are subjected to these horrible crimes, but to all of humanity.” (Emphasis added.)
So, the U.S. is interested in adhering to international norms and laws? I’m guessing this is one of those “do as I say and not as I do” situations.
I’ll ignore the fact that the impending strike on Syria will almost assuredly be a violation of international law and simply focus on other actions that have already occurred and were conducted by the U.S. government.
Is it an internationally accepted norm to spy on the democratically elected heads of state, including their text messages, of countries that you call allies, such as Mexico and Brazil? Didn’t think so.
There is the continued use of drones to kill whoever the U.S. government deems a loosely defined “imminent threat” on foreign soil, including U.S. citizens, a certain violation of international law.
Are the recent confirmations that the U.S. helped overthrow the Iranian prime minister in 1953 or helped Saddam Hussein use chemical weapons against Iran in the late 1980s part of international norms that the world readily approves? Not really.
Is the use of torture when interrogating people a lawful “standard” the world accepts? Negative.
What about the United States use of chemical weapons, such as Agent Orange in Vietnam? Who did the world punish for that? Or, more recently, who was prosecuted for the use of depleted uranium by U.S. forces in Iraq? Should there be a military strike on U.S. military installations for the horrific conditions in the hardest hit areas like Fallujah?
Or maybe the U.S. isn’t concerned about the norms and is more concerned with the fact so many people are dying. Because when so many are dying, the U.S. intervenes. Just like we didn’t when 250,000 people recently starved to death in Somalia over a three year period, half of which were children under the age of five. Or like we didn’t in Mexico where likely over 100,000 people have been killed, some very brutally, since 2006 largely because of U.S. drug and gun policies.
Let’s face it. This list could go on for quite a while.
In short, the U.S. wants to bomb Syria in the interest of maintaining international norms and enforcing international law because America is an example of following the most rigorous of these standards accepted by the world community. My question is: since when?