Ridiculous U.S. Rhetoric to Justify Syria Intervention

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.)

Here we come Syria!

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?

Disgraceful Government Treatment of Veterans Affected by Agent Orange

An article in the Washington Post this weekend highlighted some awful actions taken by the U.S. military in order to avoid paying veterans who may have been affected by Agent Orange lingering on planes after the Vietnam War.  Much of it speaks for itself:

In 2010, the Air Force destroyed 18 of the Vietnam-era aircraft in part because of concerns about potential liability for Agent Orange, according to Air Force memos documenting the destruction…

The Air Force aborted plans to sell some of the planes in 1996, after evidence surfaced that 18 of them might still be contaminated with TCDD dioxin, a carcinogen associated with Agent Orange, according to Air Force document… The Air Force did not notify the post-Vietnam crews or Boneyard employees of the potential risk, according to Air Force documents…

Officials at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, which oversaw the planes, approved a consultant’s recommendation in 2009 to “dispose of/recycle the 18 UC-123K ‘Agent Orange’ aircraft as soon as possible to avoid further risk from media publicity, litigation, and liability for presumptive compensation,” according to a base memo in August 2009.

Subsequent testing of 17 aircraft in August 1996 detected “strong potential of low level concentrations of dioxin,” according to Air Force documents.

In December 1996, the Air Force requested the government terminate the sales, warning that “the potential for harm to individuals from dioxin contamination is great.”

It’s pretty sad when documents exist admitting the wrongdoing and the danger of these chemicals to people around it yet no action will be taken to compensate the victims who will suffer the consequences.  Especially sad when considering the amount of money the U.S. spends on defense and heaves upon defense contractors.

And, of course, these are just the lingering effects of Agent Orange on people who were not around when the actual spraying was being done and not the people who suffered the 20 million gallons that were dropped by U.S. forces on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, a clear violation of Geneva.