On Syria and simplistic thinking

What strikes me as a little sad, and perhaps a little sick, is the tendency to feel we need to pick a side in this fight—and, within the side we pick, which part of that side do we choose. (This is particularly true of the rebel side, where, despite the comments of several folks, the weight of evidence strongly suggests the Islamist forces dominate the resistance).

There has been a pretty consistent tendency by several writers to dismiss the reality that the regime has some actual support within Syria. (This doesn’t make it right or wrong—I’m just noting a fact. Hitler had real support from many in Germany, and Stalin’s death was widely and sincerely mourned in the Soviet Union). All I’m trying to say is that within Syria there is a wide range of views and, tragically, the rebel forces are now fighting each other.

What has happened is the tendency to take a tragedy and simplify it.

Should the US have attacked Iraq because Saddam was really dreadful?

The result has been the destruction of Iraq. At what point do we realize that our debate about how important the rebel forces are plays into the hands of John McCain?

One correspondent asked what we should do if we see someone being beaten up—do we stand aside? Well, that is letting Western media set us up. Where has the outrage been over Bahrain? Why the silence over Saudi Arabia? The White House (and France, and a few neo-Trotskyist intellectuals) have decided Assad must go. And now we are all discussing that agenda, instead of setting up our agenda which might include sanctions against Israel for its Occupation, or a discussion of human rights violation in Saudi Arabia (not “instead of” Syria, but as part of a broader discussion). And I always, in the back of my mind, remember the US has the largest prison population in the world but that item seems far down on the agenda of discussion.

David McReynolds
New York City

Farmers are being “cut and muzzled,” too

I congratulate John Du-pius on his comprehensive list of “Cuts and Muzzlings During the Harper Years” (Peace, Jul-Sep 2013). I believe Harper could use a phrase that Pierre Trudeau once used, when he said “just watch me!”

I do believe that Harper needs watching, as he is changing Can-ada to a privatized jurisdiction.

However, I am also writing this letter to note my disappointment that John Dupius did not mention that Har-per’s government completely erased any control of the Canadian Wheat Board [CWB], which had been governed by a democratically elected board of wheat and barley producers. All producers are now at the mercy of the buyers and sellers of the global grain traders. This, more or less, was the situation that existed in the 1920s, under the power of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, prior to the formation of the co-operative Prairie Pools, followed by the establishment of the CWB in the 1930s, by the Conservative government of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.

Leo Kurtenbach
(retired grain and livestock producer)

Derelict Occupation

After the Spanish government fully compensates ethnic-Anglo and Brit-ish-national residents of Gibraltar for their property and monetary accumulation if they wish to relocate, Britain should completely relinquish its imperialist history and return lands far from the UK, specifically Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.

As for the referenda favoring British ownership (others would call it a derelict occupation), it’s all too easy to populate mostly desolate, foreign lands; and then, over very many years of procreation, have the British nationalist descendents vote and vote again in favor of their ethnicity’s national origin.

How many bloody wars will have to be fought over British ownership of populated lands so very far from home?

Frank Sterle
White Rock BC

Peace Magazine Oct-Dec 2013

Peace Magazine Oct-Dec 2013, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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