What if Americans Had Known in 2013 that U.S. rejected Syria Deal in 2012?

In the United States it is considered fashionable to maintain a steadfast ignorance of rejected peace offers, and to believe that all the wars launched by the U.S. government are matters of “last resort.” Our schools still don’t teach that Spain wanted the matter of the Maine to go to international arbitration, that Japan wanted peace before Hiroshima, that the Soviet Union proposed peace negotiations before the Korean War, or that the U.S. sabotaged peace proposals for Vietnam from the Vietnamese, the Soviets, and the French. When a Spanish newspaper reported that Saddam Hussein had offered to leave Iraq before the 2003 invasion, U.S. media took little interest. When British media reported that the Taliban was willing to have Osama bin Laden put on trial before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. journalists yawned. Iran’s 2003 offer to negotiate ending its nuclear energy program wasn’t mentioned much during this year’s debate over an agreement with Iran — which was itself nearly rejected as an impediment to war.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, who had been involved in negotiations in 2012, said that in 2012 Russia had proposed a process of peace settlement between the Syrian government and its opponents that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down. But, according to Ahtisaari, the United States was so confident that Assad would soon be violently overthrown that it rejected the proposal.

The catastrophic Syrian civil war since 2012 has followed U.S. adherence to actual U.S. policy in which peaceful compromise is usually the last resort. Does the U.S. government believe violence tends to produce better results? The record shows otherwise. More likely it believes that violence will lead to greater U.S.-control, while satisfying the war industry. The record on the first part of that is mixed at best.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000 Wesley Clark claims that in 2001, Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld put out a memo proposing to take over seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. The basic outline of this plan was confirmed by none other than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in 2010 pinned it on former Vice President Dick Cheney:

“Cheney wanted forcible ‘regime change’ in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair. ‘He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it — Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.,’ Blair wrote. ‘In other words, he [Cheney] thought the world had to be made anew, and that after 11 September, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.'”

U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks trace U.S. efforts in Syria to undermine the government back to at least 2006. In 2013, the White House went public with plans to lob some unspecified number of missiles into Syria, which was in the midst of a horrible civil war already fueled in part by U.S. arms and training camps, as well as by wealthy U.S. allies in the region and fighters emerging from other U.S.-created disasters in the region.

The excuse for the missiles was an alleged killing of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons — a crime that President Barack Obama claimed to have certain proof had been committed by the Syrian government. Watch the videos of the dead children, the President said, and support that horror or support my missile strikes. Those were the only choices, supposedly. It wasn’t a soft sell, but it wasn’t a powerful or successful one either.

The “proof” of responsibility for that use of chemical weapons fell apart, and public opposition to what we later learned would have been a massive bombing campaign succeeded. Public opposition succeeded without knowing about the rejected proposal for peace of 2012. But it succeeded without follow-through. No new effort was made for peace, and the U.S. went right ahead inching its way into the war with trainers and weapons and drones.

In January 2015, a scholarly study found that the U.S. public believes that whenever the U.S. government proposes a war, it has already exhausted all other possibilities. When a sample group was asked if they supported a particular war, and a second group was asked if they supported that particular war after being told that all alternatives were no good, and a third group was asked if they supported that war even though there were good alternatives, the first two groups registered the same level of support, while support for war dropped off significantly in the third group. This led the researchers to the conclusion that if alternatives are not mentioned, people don’t assume they exist — rather, people assume they’ve already been tried. So, if you mention that there is a serious alternative, the game is up. You’ll have to get your war on later.

Based on the record of past wars, engaged in and avoided, as it dribbles out in the years that follow, the general assumption should always be that peace has been carefully avoided at every turn.

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  • ClubToTheHead

    The governing media does superb work in capturing the hearts and minds of Americans.

  • cettel

    Re:

    • CMC761

      I searched for that quote and found several articles from 2010 that quote from Tony Blair’s memoirs (A Journey: My Political Life) about Cheney. The first ones that came up were Consortiumnews and Global Research.

      Cheney was for hard power. And as TIME magazine put it, Hillary/Kerry represented “soft power.” But it makes little difference with a two headed snake. Either one will do damage.

      • wunsacon

        Yes. But, I agree with Eric. (Why should every reader have to perform his/her own online search?)

        The “principal” WB blogger — who seems to have disappeared for now — used many, many footnotes. On those occasions when I found myself doubting an allegation, the proximity of a footnote made it trivial to read and interpret the source material for myself. In most cases that I checked, I indeed disagreed with WB’s interpretation.

        Also, the principal WB blogger frequently used section headers, bulleted lists, charts, and simpler, shorter sentences or paragraphs. I was able to read and comprehend the material faster. Yes, I can read and understand Eric’s and Dave’s work. But, it takes more effort.

    • diogenes

      A couple weeks ago in an article about FDR Eric Zuesse made a variety of claims about FDR’s administration and policies that are unsustainable as historical fact, without citing any evidence whatsoever. I posted a half dozen contemporary accounts that make it plain that Zuesse’s claims were utter nonsense. From articles like this I get the impression that Zuesse is basically a Democratic Party operative peddling Democratic Party legends — which are every bit as much a part of America’s problems as Republican legends, since they are two puppets of the same puppeteers. Between Swanson and Zuesse I’ll take Swanson every time, by a mile.

      • kimyo

        zuesse never deigned to offer evidence that hitler posed an actual threat to american lives. he kept forwarding us to his book (as if!).

        if hitler was indeed a threat to more than a handful of american lives, t’would be simple, in just a sentence or two, to demonstrate same.

        his failure to deliver shows that he’s the pino version of colin powell, complete with aluminum tubes.

        • wunsacon

          I respectfully disagree with your and diogenes opinions on that matter. I think Germany’s and Japan’s “highly successful aggression” against every one of their neighboring countries proved they — like the French and British empires — were a threat to everyone else on the planet.

          In my purely personal opinion, it’s rare that a public figure’s strategic lying, false flag, or similar deception proves justified. Most of the time, it contributes to unproductive, immoral violence. But, in light of the threat, FDR’s apparent engineering of the Pearl Harbor attack sounds like one of those times it was justified.

          • diogenes

            The end result of FDR’s betrayal of our constitutional process, besides the 3000 hoodwinked dead sailors at Pearl Harbor, was Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe for 50 years and the global ecocidal empire of Wall Street. And so you think it was “justified”? Because “Germany and Japan … were a threat to everyone else on the planet”??? This is out of touch with historical facts and with reason. In 1939 the largest land military establishment “on the planet” was Stalin’s and the largest navies were Britain’s and America’s. Your remarks fly in the face of historical facts, common sense, and respect for our constitutional government — not a good recommendation, in my opinion.

            But in any case, the pressing concern here is not rehashing the events of 75 years ago but confronting contemporary problems — and Eric Zuesse’s attack on David Swanson and the flimsy grounds he stands on in light of his bogus misrepresentations of historical facts and his shilling for Donkey Handpuppet of the Wall Street Two Party charade. Bernie just assured us that he will support the Democratic Candidate no matter who. Game over.

          • kimyo

            +1 for donkey handpuppet.

            for me, that’ll be m. zuesse’s new middle name.

          • wunsacon

            >> The end result of FDR’s betrayal of our constitutional process, besides
            the 3000 hoodwinked dead sailors at Pearl Harbor, was Soviet hegemony in
            Eastern Europe for 50 years

            Oh, come on. A decent analysis would compare the end result with the probable alternative ending: Hitler defeating Russia and England, leaving the US to face a economic and military behemoth in Eurasia and another one in the Pacific.

            >> and the global ecocidal empire of Wall Street.

            The 1980’s deregulatory environment is too far removed from Pearl Harbor.

          • tom

            “Oh, come on. A decent analysis would compare the end result with the
            probable alternative ending: Hitler defeating Russia and England,
            leaving the US to face a economic and military behemoth in Eurasia and
            another one in the Pacific”.

            It made for an excellent SF novel (PKD’s “The Man in the High Castle”). But it wouldn’t have happened. At the very moment of Pearl Harbor, the Wehrmacht was decisively stopped on the threshold of Moscow. Not just stopped, but very nearly routed. The Germans had already been stopped in front of Leningrad, and the following year they were smashed at Stalingrad. In 1943, the battle of Kursk was followed by an ever-accelerating Soviet surge into Europe. It’s virtually certain that, if the USA had stayed out of the war, the USSR would have won it – and possibly occupied all of continental Europe.

            Britain’s fate is less certain, but Hitler would have had his hands full in the East. Provided American financial and economic aid had continued as before, it is most unlikely Britain could have been conquered, as the RAF and Royal Navy grew in strength while the Luftwaffe weakened, and the Kriegsmarine faded away to insignificance. The only real threat would have been the U-boat campaign.

            These considerations, of course, are why FDR brought the USA into the war. He would never have tackled an enemy that might win – such as Germany in 1939. By the end of 1941, however, it was plain enough that Germany would eventually lose, so it was time for the scavengers to move in.

            “…the American Eagle eats carrion, never tackles anything its own size, and will soon be extinct”. – Robert A Heinlein, “Glory Road”

          • wunsacon

            Interesting. I’ll think about this more.

          • diogenes

            It’s suggestive of the ignorance and lack of fundamental understanding — or their gullibility — that people can be persuaded that there was EVER any threat of a successful German invasion of Britain, given what we know about the difficulty of the Normandy invasion, the time it took to prepare it, the resources that were required, and the fact that it confronted an limited army occupying a foreign country hostile to it, not a united Britain hostile to the invading force. The suggestion that this was ever a threat is simply ridiculous and suggests the stupidity of people who propose it. The German High Command rejected the idea in a matter of weeks in 1940. This, too, is a matter of historical fact, but people who talk this rot don’t give a damn for facts. They are parrot chattering the stale propaganda of 70 years ago. Pathetic.

          • wunsacon

            >> The German High Command rejected the idea in a matter of

            weeks in 1940.

            That’s what they decided at that time. Period. If the US never got involved, German military science and industrial production would’ve continued growing. Yes? At some point wouldn’t they have developed nukes and ICBM’s?

            >> Pathetic.
            >> You don’t, which proves you don’t know what you’re talking about, or you don’t fare about facts. Which is it?

            Gee, pardon me for not being an expert in everything, including hypothetical “alternative history” outcomes.

            Calm down.

            >> the German forces were concentrated on the Eastern Front, where they were losing badly

            Stalingrad occurred after Lend-Lease and official American entry into the war. Were German forces not advancing until then?

          • wunsacon

            Thanks, Tom. Really interesting. This is persuasive. But, I’m not 100% convinced and have more questions.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Moscow#Soviet_counteroffensive

            Wasn’t lend-lease already in progress? Without American production and engagement, what would’ve happened?

          • diogenes

            You need to read the history you pretend to discuss. There is zero chance that Germany would have defeated Russia or England. Anyone acquainted with the facts knows this. You don’t, which proves you don’t know what you’re talking about, or you don’t fare about facts. Which is it?

          • wunsacon

            I say “Interesting. I’ll think about this more” and then you reply with condescending remarks?

            There’s no need to be rude, diogenes.

          • wunsacon

            >> The end result of FDR’s betrayal of our constitutional process, besides the 3000 hoodwinked dead sailors at Pearl Harbor, was Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe for 50 years and the global ecocidal empire of Wall Street. And this, you say, “justifies” it?

            Don’t put words in my mouth.

            Given Tom’s valid arguments, the USSR might’ve defeated Germany all by itself. According to you, we should’ve stayed out. Wouldn’t the USSR have then rolled over — like you say they were planning — not just Eastern Europe but all of Europe?

            If I mimic your rhetoric (accusing me of supporting Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe), I could put the prior paragraph of words in your mouth — i.e., assume that’s what you’re saying — and then mockingly ask you: ‘Does Hitler’s and/or Stalin’s domination of all of Europe for 50 years “justify” your inaction??’ But, what good does such antagonism accomplish in this conversation?

          • kimyo

            if hitler had a button on his desk labeled ‘vaporize nyc’, sure, he’d have been bashing it like a pedestrian at the crosswalk with bladder dysfunction.

            the hard truth is that he had no such power.

            the hard truth is that it’s the u.s. which could have vaporized berlin and hamburg with little boy and fat man.

            FDR’s apparent engineering of the Pearl Harbor attack sounds like one of those times it was justified.

            false flag terrorism/’apparent engineering’ means democracy has left the building.

            regardless of the severity or veracity of the threat, once your executive decides to manipulate the public into war via false flag, you no longer live in a decent, democratic, progressive society.

          • wunsacon

            >> if hitler had a button on his desk labeled ‘vaporize nyc’, sure, he’d have been bashing it like a pedestrian at the crosswalk with bladder dysfunction.the hard truth is that he had no such power.

            ICBM’s were developed not long afterwards.

            Then again, as long as we developed our own ICBM’s, we could’ve been in a stalemate with Germany/Japan just as easily as we were in a stalemate with the USSR. Meanwhile, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans ensured no invasion.

            So, maybe you’re right. Maybe Germany/Japan weren’t a threat to the Western Hemisphere — just our traditional business partners and interests in the Eastern Hemisphere.

            >> the hard truth is that it’s the u.s. which could have vaporized berlin and hamburg with little boy and fat man.

            Without Pearl Harbor motivating everyone in the country to work in the war industry, I doubt we would’ve developed the same technologies.

            >> you no longer live in a decent, democratic, progressive society.

            There are degrees…

            Anyway, only a minority of voters are decent, democratic, and progressive. Most anger when you talk about ugly truths and swarm in support of personalities that talk tough and sell them the American Dream.

          • tom

            “ICBM’s were developed not long afterwards”.

            Based on the German V2. Wernher von Braun (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/t/tom+lehrer/wernher+von+braun_20138402.html) and his colleagues were working on much more ambitious follow-ups, which would eventually have brought New York and Washington within range – as would the planned very long range bombers.

            “I would unhesitatingly say that fire was Hitler’s proper element… I never saw him so worked up as toward the end of the war, when in a kind of delirium he pictured for himself and for us the destruction of New York in a hurricane of fire. He described the skyscrapers being turned into gigantic burning torches, collapsing upon one another, the glow of the exploding city illuminating the dark sky”.

            – Albert Speer

          • wunsacon

            Interesting. Thanks.

          • kimyo

            hitler as portrayed by speer = the skinny kid with a bloody nose sniffling in an empty schoolyard saying, ‘i’ll show them, i’ll build an iron man suit/stark reactor in my basement and then they’ll pay’.

            if hitler could have turned nyc into an inferno, why didn’t he do so to london?

          • wunsacon

            V2 production didn’t start until 1943. Too late to make a difference.

            And Germans punted on their own Manhattan Project b/c they expected the war to be over before it mattered. Turns out, they were right, both about themselves and the American efforts, too.

          • thetruth

            And guess who instigated and created the conditions for those countries to “go wild” in the first place. *Cue Jeopardy Music*

          • wunsacon

            >> And guess who instigated and created the conditions for those countries to “go wild” in the first place. *Cue Jeopardy Music*

            Who is Prescott Bush and other American/British financiers?

            Did I win? If so, what did I win?

            No…seriously, what’s the right answer? I’m mainly guessing there.

    • TheRantingRooster

      You might actually check Tony Blair’s memoir back in 2010. From Consortiumnews, by Robert Perry, http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/090610.html (Blair Reveals Cheney’s War Agenda,
      Sept 6, 2010)

      “Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s new memoir offers the expected rationalizations for his joining in an illegal, aggressive war against Iraq, even to the point of quibbling
      about the death toll. But Blair does reveal how much more war was favored by Vice President Dick Cheney and the neocons.

      In A Journey: My Political Life, Blair depicts Cheney as believing the United States was at war not only with Islamic terrorists but with “rogue states that supported them” and that “the only way of defeating [this threat] was head-on, with maximum American strength.”

      Cheney wanted forcible “regime change” in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered
      hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair.”

  • CMC761

    We also have the more recent example of Libya.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/28/hillary-clinton-undercut-on-
    libya-war-by-pentagon-/?page=all

    Kucinich and the Joint Chiefs got a promise that the rebels would not be attacked only to be cut out by Hillary Clinton. (Notice the article’s title slant about Hillary undercut by Pentagon.) As I’ve read in Slouching Towards Sirte, the African Union also had negotiations for peace that were refused.

    • CMC761

      Note that whether it’s Hillary or Cheney, they will eventually admit it was all about regime change all along but not when they are selling the war. GOP uses fear and anger while the DEMs use humanitarian reasons.

  • diogenes

    Actually the situation with the Maine in 1898 was even more disgusting. The Spanish diplomats negotiating in Madrid had capitulated and accepted the American demands and he wired this back to Washington and McKinley just ignored it and declared war anyways.