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Mosul – did the US deliberately bomb civilians?

facebook_1458536670156Mosul and Kirkuk bombed by US,” reported the Daily Mail on 24 March.

The United States has been targeting Mosul and Kirkuk in recent days as Washington slowly moves troops into the region to open a new front in its ground war on Iraq, which has been waged mainly from the south via Kuwait.”

So far so unremarkable. Of greater cause for concern was an Iraqi News report two days earlier which said:

A senior security source announced on Tuesday, that dozens of ISIS militants were killed, including Arabs and foreigners, in an aerial bombardment carried out by the international coalition aviation on the University of Mosul.”

Mosul is a key stronghold of ISIS in Iraq, which the Iraqi army and their US allies have been aiming to retake for some months. But a different version of events is emerging. Reports suggest that Mosul University’s targeting by US warplanes inflicted significant civilian casualties. One source, whom I prefer to keep anonymous as she is still based in Iraq, said the University’s engineering college, science college, part of the agriculture college and vocational school had been struck, as well as the faculty members’ residential building.

Unlike the usual night-time bombardments, the air strike on Mosul University appears to have been carried out in broad daylight at a time when the campus was most crowded. Around 50 deaths, including women and children are reported, and more than double that number injured.

The bombing was carried out on the 13th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and was evidently intended to be a spectacular reminder of US firepower. Two questions must be asked, however.

  • Firstly, did the US deliberately intend to inflict large scale civilian casualties under the guise of its war on ISIS?
  • And secondly, why has there been no western media coverage whatsoever of what may be a significant war crime

36 Comments

  1. David Ellis says:

    The Yanks don’t care how many civilians are in the way when they target their enemies. That’s collateral damage. A war crime in itself. But it often bombs civilians deliberately and en mass. Look at Hiroshima and Nagasaki probably two of the greatest single war crimes ever committed. Its near genocide of the native Americans saw an awful lot of women gunned down with the children on purpose. But they are getting in from all sides in Iraq and Syria with the Russian air force deliberately targeting market places, schools and hospitals and killing civilians with impunity and deliberately.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      The U.S. government, (generally operating through the CIA who were heavily involved in Guatemala, for example,) often supported repressive regimes as a part of its anti-Communist policies during the Cold War:

      This is one such case.

      “Civil war existed in Guatemala since the early 1960s due to inequalities existing in the economic and political life. In the 1970s, the Maya began participating in protests against the repressive government, demanding greater equality and inclusion of the Mayan language and culture. In 1980, the Guatemalan army instituted “Operation Sophia,”

      “Over the next three years, the army destroyed 626 villages, killed or “disappeared” more than 200,000 people and displaced an additional 1.5 million, while more than 150,000 were driven to seek refuge in Mexico. Forced disappearance policies included secretly arresting or abducting people, who were often killed and buried in unmarked graves. In addition, the government instituted a scorched earth policy, destroying and burning buildings and crops, slaughtering livestock, fouling water supplies and violating sacred places and cultural symbols.”

      “Many of these actions were undertaken by the army, specifically through special units known as the Kaibiles, in addition to private death squads, who often acted on the advice of the army.”

      But the story is essentially the same throughout South America, (and elsewhere,) from El Salvador to Chile and Thatcher’s old mate general Pinochet who was elevated to power in US back coup against the democratic government and who brutality towards his political opponents has since and rightly so become infamous.

      But these are the kind of regime and policies that the US have always backed, supported and financed.

  2. John Penney says:

    This is a dodgy “report” from dubious and/or “unnamed” sources about an event that may , or of course may very well not, have happened, ie deliberate mass civilian casualties, in a city occupied by the murderous, serial liars , as well as killers , of Daesh – .

    Why such a dubious , completely , non verified by any independent source, article, is on the Left Futures site perplexes me. Who benefits from such an unsubstantiated report being given credence ? Only Daesh.

    There are plenty of independently verified reports of , in particular Turkish, aerial bombardments of Kurdish areas (in Turkey as well as Syria) , without setting up an as yet utterly unverified , and , knowing the obvious interest of Daesh in characterising each and every bombing run on their occupied areas as “atrocities against civilians” , quite likely completely bogus , event, as some seminal “US war crime” .

    We on the Left have a responsibility to pursue truth , not just latch on to any report from any dodgy source that appear to support our political outlook. Yes, we all know US Imperialism is a blood-soaked tyranny – but putting up rumour and doubtfully sourced tittle tattle as “fact” actually discredits the Left too.

    1. David Pavett says:

      I had the same reaction to this piece. Also the suggestion that the US may be deliberately trying to kill civilians as a part of its fight with ISIS makes no sense at all.

      Also it should at least have been mentioned that ISIS is said to have set up its headquarters in the university buildings and may be using the university resources for making weapons.

      I wonder what the purpose of this article was thought to be.

  3. Mike says:

    I can assure John Penney that my source is entirely reliable, not remotely connected to or sympathetic to ISIS, and I have chosen not to reveal her name for reasons of personal safety. The fact that it has not been reported in the western media does not make the story untrue, but it does tell us about the priorities of these media. Equally the fact that Mosul is occupied by ISIS and is present at the university does not exonerate the US bombardment, which included residential buildings. Details of the civilian casualties are still emerging. One prominent fatality
    was Professor Dhafer al Badrani, former Dean of the Computer Sciences College in Mosul University, who was killed along with his wife. I understand there were virtually no survivors of the bombing of the faculty residential building.
    It may “no sense at all” to some that the US is deliberately trying to kill civilians, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that bombing a residential building in broad daylight was a deliberate act. The US has not been especially careful in distinguishing between military and civilian targets since their invasion of Iraq thirteen years ago.
    Mike Phipps

    1. John Penney says:

      Pardon me if I treat your entire story as a very likely complete fiction, Mike, without believable independent corroborative evidence . We can all make up claimed “reliable sources” (located in the Daesh closely controlled hell hole that is Mosul – really ?) – but does the story as you offer it to us (a US airstrike just to kill lots of civilians for the sheer sake of it ) have any believable motivational logic for a US airstrike ? No it doesn’t, Mike. Buildings like universities in Daesh controlled cities are usually occupied as barracks, headquarters , propaganda centres , torture centres, and other occupation-supporting uses. Such buildings are obvious targets for airstrikes to take out Daesh occupation forces. It is always the response of occupying forces in all wars (the Nazis did it constantly in occupied Europe) to claim huge civilian casualties every time their key buildings and forces take a hit.

      So pardon me, but I’ll take your “assurances” about your completely unverified tale with a large pinch of salt. It also serves no useful political purpose on our Left Futures site that I can determine.

  4. Mike says:

    What you believe is up to you. Interesting that you should compare my non-ISIS, reliable source to the Nazis – an example of Godwin’s law – thereby obviating the need for any further communication between us.

    1. David Pavett says:

      It is too easy to end the discussion like that.

      The thing is that your short piece makes some big claims without any checkable references/sources. How can we use such information? What do we say when challenged? “Mike Phipps said that someone he knows in Iraq told him”? You did not deal with the point that the University is said to have been taken over as ISIS headquarters. You say that “Around 50 deaths, including women and children are reported”. Reported where and by whom? As it stands your claims are unusable.

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        “Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.”

        ― Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

        You make a good and very important point there and as you rightly point out, without verification the article above is just hearsay.

        Although sometimes hearsay can turn out be uncannily accurate in retrospect and particularly so in a climate where John Landsman here for example, recently felt fully justified in completely striking out all the comments on a difficult and contentious topic that he didn’t like; but don’t call it censorship, (dear me no,) call it, “maintaining standards.”

        However in the absence of such verification, such claims need to be judged on the balance of probability and on previous, (historic,) experiences of American, (or even if you will, of imperial British,) military and foreign policy and in that context I find the whole thing only too feasible and not in a straightforward; the Americans are always evil, way.

        As for why would they, (we,) attack civilians ?

        I think you probably don’t fully grasp how deeply racist many Americans are, (fundamentalist religion, America’s mission to world, etc…) or that any distinction between a combatant and and civilian is probably moot to some guy sitting an a office in Virgina operating a drone, though also probably to people much closer to the battlefront as well. .

        “The only good Gook is a dead Gook,” (from the Vietnam war.

        Or look up if you will the meaning of the American military euphemism, (allegedly from Afghanistan,) “mowing the short grass.”

        As I’ve said here before, there are no, “good guys,” in this conflict.

        I hope this not true, but unfortunately whether it’s true or not the US and it’s allies have traditionally done far worse previously and on many occasions and that is not, “hearsay.”

        “The dead lay unburied, and each man as he recognized a friend among them shuddered with grief and horror; while the living whom they were leaving behind, wounded or sick, were to the living far more shocking than the dead, and more to be pitied than those who had perished.”

        Book VII, 7.75-[3]

        1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

          I couldn’t actually find the quotation I was looking for, again from Thucydides, but to sum up; he observed that the longer the conflict, (and he is I think arguing that this is true of all conflicts,) went on the more barbaric, brutal, (killing rather than enslaving, prisoners of war,) and impious, (leaving their own and the enemy dead unburied without rites,) and profane became the behavior of everyone on both sides of the conflict and how the, “unthinkable,” had gradually come to seem almost normal.

          To both sides equally.

      2. Mike Phipps says:

        Some confirmation of the attack can be found here: http://airwars.org/civcas-2016/
        Scroll down to the very end for this:
        More than 100 civilians were claimed killed alongside 40 or more Daesh fighters, in a major Coalition air raid on Mosul.
        NRN News first flashed at around noon local time “the fall of dozens of civilians by bombings on both sides of the city. More soon.”
        In a later bulletin the news agency said the Coalition had struck three sites in the city. The first was a cafe near Mosul’s Office of Marriage Contracts, which according to NRN “is a favorite meeting place for foreign elements in Daesh.”
        Following an initial attack “people gathered around the place to help the wounded. But a second missile led to a fall of more than fifty civilians among the dead and injured.” NRN later placed the civilian death toll here at 25. Up to 40 fighters also reportedly died.
        A second series of airstrikes was said to have targeted the University of Mosul’s campus. According to NRN “our correspondent says that the second bombing targeted the presidency of the University of Mosul building, killing Daesh’s Minister of Higher Education in addition to the killing and wounding of more than 50 others, including foreigners. Planes also bombed another building on campus, a Faculty of Engineering building where mechanics worked on improvised explosive devices and explosives.” A later single source report claimed that as many as 90 students were killed in this attack, with 155 seriously injured.
        A third site in the east of the city at Camp Ghazlani was also reportedly bombed.
        Governor of Nineveh Province Nofal Sultan later blamed the Coalition for “dozens of civilian deaths.” He also called for the Coalition to improve the accuracy of its strikes, noting that 2 million ordinary Iraqis were still trapped in Mosul.
        The Coalition later confirmed it had carried out the strikes, with spokesman Colonel Steve Warren noting that alleged civiliabn casualties were under investigation.

        1. John Penney says:

          You really just don’t “geddit” do you Mike. These are “reports” inevitably sourced from a city entirely controlled by the habitual liars and spinners of information of Daesh. No credibility can be attached to such reports from an occupied city in these circumstances.

          Now it may well be the case that a US airstrike on a known headquarters building of Daesh (the university complex) has produced civilian casualties as “collateral damage”. a tragedy of so . But you have specifically chosen to portray this claimed air attack as carried out by the US to cause civilian casualties deliberately – not as an accidental outcome of a military strike – but as its main aim. Why have you done this, Mike ? There is no evidence that this is how US , or UK airstrikes are being conducted. Turkish, Russian and Assad forces – yes, plenty of evidence of pretty random bombing activities unconcerned with civilian casualties.

          So who are the beneficiaries of your claims , on very dubious evidence, that the US was engaged in “Bomber Harris-style” area terror bombing aimed at civilians ? Daesh of course – anxious to portray each and every air raid on their infrastructure as “civilian targetted terror bombing” . The Russians and Assad forces – widely acknowledged to bomb in an irresponsible manner which causes huge civilian casualties – and perhaps happy to have Western forces equally tarred. the Turks – again responsible for well documented widespread bombing of Kurdish areas – with little regard for civilians.

          So , given the well-documented air war crimes of Assad, Turkey, Russia, why do you choose to highlight a very dodgily sourced account of a claimed US “terror bombing” raid , Mike ? And claim as fact that this claimed attack (on a known Daesh occupied building) was motivated by a mission objective to maximise civilian casualties?

          Whatever your motives , Mike , the pursuit of the truth , and a sensible analysis of the likely motive for such an airstrike, ie, a military one, seems very low down on your priorities.

          1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

            You might find this as interesting as I find it tragic, but this is a complex, contested and far from straightforward topic..

            “Throughout the post-Cold War period there has been a widespread view that war has changed radically since the early twentieth century to the point where some 80–90% of war victims are now civilians. This view was reflected in the European Union’s European Security Strategy, adopted by the European Council in Brussels in December 2003, which stated as fact
            that ‘since 1990, almost 4 million people have died in wars, 90% of them civilians’.”

            “Many other individuals and institutions have made similar statements.”

            https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/access/content/user/1044/Survival_Jun-Jul_2010_-_AR_on_lives___statistics_-_non-printable.pdf

        2. David Pavett says:

          @Mike Phipps. Your response doesn’t deal with the central criticisms of your piece.

          (1) You produce one link to a news source confirming that there was a coalition air strike on Mosul. I don’t that was ever seriously in question, although I wonder why you didn’t give the link in the first place.

          (2) The link is to a news source which relies on the its news from the Nineveh Reporters Network (NRN) which is a group of “citizen journalists” from the area. We know nothing about these people and have to remember that the fog of war provides a hot-bed for rumours and hearsay.

          (3) That said the report you cite actually gives rather more careful figures for deaths and casualties than the once you give. It tells us Civilians reported killed: 25-115. and Daesh fighters killed:30-40. Reported injured: 30-103.

          (4) Now having been obliged to provide more detail you quote the Governor of Nineveh Province as complaining of “dozens” of civilian deaths as a result of inaccurate bombing. That is a very different thing from your suggestion that the US may be deliberately targeting civilians. What is the basis for your suggestion? We still don’t know.

          I don’t think that leaves much of your original piece standing.

          1. Mike Phipps says:

            I didn’t have the link when I first wrote up the story, only a private communiacation from a very trustworthy source, which I choose not to disclose. I produced the link because people were claiming the story was uncorroborated. Now people are suggesting the news source may be unreliable: that’s possible but it was not the original basis of my story. If you scroll back through the Airwars link I provided, there are many more reports of civilian casualties in recent US bombardments elsewhere in Iraq. If you are looking for a “trustworthy”, by which I assume you mean western source, there is this from CNN http://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/20/middleeast/mosul-iraq-airstrikes-isis/
            but it doesn’t deal with civilian casualties. I raise the question about the deliberate targeting of civilains, because we know in the case of drone strikes that on average 40 civilians are killed for every targeted assassination. With western media largely silent on the civilian casualty rate in Iraq, there is no reason to suppose the US operate to a fundamentally different standard in their operations there.

          2. John Penney says:

            Mike’s entire article is simply a disgracefully lazy piece of rumour and hearsay, dressed up as solid fact – and then spun to a completely unverifiable, and illogical conclusion – ie, that the US airstrike was aimed at maximising civilian casualties – not to target a Daesh headquarters building (always deliberately mixed closely in with civilian “shields” as a matter of cynical Daesh policy) .

            I personally treat with total disbelief Mike’s convenient but unverifiable claim that he has a ” reliable and trustworthy” source for his version of events. In Mosul, Mike ? Able to move around freely to investigate events at a high security DAESH headquarters building. Mike ? and you can be quite sure that any communication from such a person, if they exist, (in a murderously locked down Daesh stronghold) , is given without duress from Daesh , Mike ? I think not .

            On the principal of “Occam’s Razor” . Mike , based on your unscrupulously biased , non-solid information-based conclusion to this very dodgy tale, my conclusion is : that you actually have no “reliable source” in Mosul – and have just made this up to add apparent verity to your fanciful account based on some available ” internet news items”, of highly dubious reliability.

            This could be unfair – who is to know but you ? but that is the conclusion provoked from the unbiased reader , based on the speculation claimed as fact nature of your entire sorry article (and I am no fan of US Middle East policy).

            Left Futures articles on such serious subjects need to be much more rigorous than this.

  5. David Ellis says:

    The neo-Stalinist left do seem to be using US war crimes real and alleged less as propaganda against imperialism but more to distract us from the crimes of Putin and Assad who are definitely carrying out the most easily verifiable atrocities and war crimes against civilians including targeting schools and hospitals.

  6. David Pavett says:

    @Mike Phipps (reply of March 27, 2016 at 11:31 am)

    The political undercurrent in these exchanges is gradually unfolding. Thus we have

    If you are looking for a “trustworthy”, by which I assume you mean western source …

    Why do assume that? What have I written that would give the slightest justification for that assumption? There is nothing that would do so because it is not in fact my view.

    What this shows, however, is that your standpoint is one according to which those who disagree with you are supporting those whom you oppose. This is the stuff of politics turned into religious fervour. This is the politics of demon hunting. It is politics in which America is no longer simply the leading Western Power intent on defending the interests of capitalism (especially American capitalism) and needs to be judged on that basis, but instead it appears as some kind of mythological beast a “whore of Babylon” or a “great Satan” from which all evil emanates. In other words it is not rational politics.

    Your reply yet again fails to address the point, made many times, about the difference between reckless bombing which takes insufficient care (if any) to avoid civilian casualties and the deliberate targeting of civilians.

    All the signs are that you are in a hole and, I respectfully suggest, it is time to stop digging.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      That seems to me to be really silly comment, (from a generally intelligent and articulate man,) and the articles author is anything but, “in hole,” even if the specific details of this particular strike are being exaggerated, misrepresented or are even largely factious I think that few people who have ever listened to service people, (including American can help have been left with the impression that for many of them in combat the distinction of which you try to make far too much,” between combatant and noncombatant is sometimes entirely irreverent.”

      This is taken from the link above and for me, sums up your own attitude to this, (OK so you don’t believe it; whilst I have a more open mind based on the historical fact that, much else just this has definitely really happened before and is by now perfectly well attested to and documented, is even being taught a modern history: I can’t help feel that you’d probably take the same tedious, nitpicking and pettifogging approach to other accounts, (initially similarly contested, disputed or simply denied about for example, Bloody Sunday or the Mai Lai massacre,) even though both were common, (soldiers go home sometimes and talk to their friends and families about their experiences,) public knowledge long before the establishment, (particularly the military and political,) ever conceded they’d really actually happened.

      As I say I hope that it really is all another vicious fabrication, although for the reason outlined above at some length I still have a completely open mind.

      But whether it’s true or not deftly misses the real point here; which is war bloody and awful the nature of warfare in every age and in ever theater of war and it’s impact on populations consisting entirely of, “people,” is alway horrible (women nursing babies or pregnant mothers, old men and sick old women, traumatized children, wounded and injured, people or sick men, all the usual suspects in fact…”

      https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/access/content/user/1044/Survival_Jun-Jul_2010_-_AR_on_lives___statistics_-_non-printable.pdf

      This is taken from link that I copied above, (which is still worth reading; it’s not long or too dry, ) and is part of summation and I think it’s as terse and appropriate response to your, “skepticism, ” as I can think of.

      When it was enunciated in 1991, the ‘nine out of ten’ (ration of noncombatant to combatant casualties,) generalization was intended to alert the world to the importance of protecting civilians. The worry is that, by reinforcing cynicism about efforts to limit the human costs of war, it may have had the opposite effect and have diverted attention from substantial issues to disputes about numbers and methodologies. casualties,) generalization was intended to alert the world to the importance of protecting civilians.

      The worry is that, by reinforcing cynicism about efforts to limit the human costs of war, it may have had the opposite effect and diverted attention from substantial issues to, (tired and empty,) disputes about numbers and methodologies, (or even as a last resort just credibility.)

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        Sorry about the grammar, (particularly bad this morning,) but think nonetheless that I’ve made a valid and important point, or if not, at least the point I wanted to; thank you.

        For me scarcely matters whether this particular account is really true or not; and for the reasons which I hope I’ve now managed to explain. .

        1. John Penney says:

          ” it doesn’t matter if this particular account is really true or not”. Well, bravo, yes, indeed – that appears to be the attitude of Mike as well . All very “Stop the War” in its narrow obsession with “US Imperialism ” and disregard for truth and the big, complex, picture – and revealing a total lack of interest in the huge atrocities and mass enslavements carried out by the clerico-fascists of Daesh.

          Mike’s article claims to have reliable insider information from the Daesh occupied City of Mosul – but strangely this article focuses solely on a claimed “deliberate civilian targeted US airstrike”(on a Daesh occupied University building deliberately sited amongst civilians) – which actually appears more likely to have been sourced from a few, highly contradictory, stories on the internet. Nothing from this supposed “informant in Mosul” about the ongoing reign of well-documented (by Daesh themselves quite often) terror that Daesh imposes on all its occupied territories , eg, the regular public executions , the chucking of gay men off buildings, the mass rape of captive women.and the regular captive women slave markets.

          I think we can all clearly see Mike’s “the only crimes are those carried out by US imperialism” trope – but what of your bizarre position J.P .Craig-Weston ? Truth doesn’t matter – as long as the message got over backs up the position you happen to hold (apparently some sort of pacifist “all war is hell” , and any old cobblers that serves to discredit US military actions is OK” naivete) . That is the death of reason – and the basis for totalitarianism you silly man. Making up crimes of imperialism is unnecessary – there are plenty of real ones. Making up bogus crimes, which usually end up exposed in the end, then discredits the exposure of real war crimes. eg. Just as the bogus stories spread by British media about Germans “bayonetting babies in Belgium” in the 1914 -18 Great War , made the later entirely true claims about the Nazi Holocaust in WW2 much harder to believe.

          Socialists need to search for true facts , and battle to understand events rationally – not feed themselves on fantasy and prejudice.

      2. David Pavett says:

        You find my comment “really silly” and my questioning of Mike Phipp’s claims “tedious, nitpicking and pettifogging”. On that basis you suggest that I would have doubted reports of atrocities such as Bloody Sunday or the Mai Lai massacre. In fact the when the news broke on both there was ample evidence of serious crimes so I had no reason to doubt that. Your speculation about my probable is therefore wide of the mark.

        Your argument seems to that the details and even the truth of Mike Phipps’ report don’t matter because they carry a general message that war is terrible and that all to often soldiers are not concerned about the distinction between combatants and civilians.

        In my view such an approach reduces the role of the journalist to that of political propagandist. No need then to let the facts get in the way of a story if it is politically ‘correct’. Such an approach to the truth and to journalistic standards, if it were accepted, would be a permanent guarantee of left-wing ineffectiveness. Some people may be sustained for a while by telling them what they want hear but such a cavalier attitude to the truth always results in intellectual bankruptcy.

        P.S. Like Mike Phipps, you do not seem to think that lack of concern for ‘collateral’ civilian casualties (horrendous though that is) is different to the deliberate targeting of civilians.

        1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

          OK a fair and robust enough response; which I accept, although I think that an my important point, (one of them,) was the largly false distinction on which you place so much emphasis, between the deliberate targeting of civilians and unintentional collateral damage is; as is the similarly untenable distinction that you and others also try to make, between combatants and civilians; just empty semantics and probably completely meaningless in practice.

          As for previous similar violence against civilians, I’m confounded by the fact that you claim to have had such an open mind on say the events of Bloody Sunday and yet can have such a firmly closed mind on this topic; I think you’ve painted yourself in a bit of a corner on that one?

          I’m petty confident that men, women and children who are having bombs dropped on them, (and I well remember my grandmother’s vivid and harrowing account of being bombed during WW II holding my mum as newborn baby,) could care less about the moral fastidiousness or lack of it, of the people who are killing them.

          1. David Pavett says:

            I thought that you, or someone else, would come up with the “people having bombs dropped on them are not fussed about whether it is by mistake or intentional” response. This is both true and completely beside the point.

            I once hurt one of my children with a tool I was working with. Had it been deliberate then that would have been a cause of moral outrage. Would you then say “to the child the injury is all the same whether it was accidental or intentional”? Can’t you see why this would be a morally confused response?

            I do not want for a moment to defend the negligent attitude of the US (and other) armies to civilian casualties. But I still say that not to see the difference between such reprehensible negligence and deliberate targeting is a massive one and people who can’t see that have a worrying moral dimension missing from their political thinking.

  7. David Ellis says:

    The truth has got to matter to socialists. It sure as hell doesn’t matter to anybody else. Unfortunately the degenerate Western left has been making shit up for decades now in the name of Stalinism. Today’s neo-Stalinists do it for Putin and shamelessly. Nobody doubts however that Western imperialism is killing civilians in Syria and Iraq as it bombs ISIS and that these are not just accidents but dubious or made up news we do not need. The disinformation spread by the left about the Syrian Revolution and the crimes of Assad and now of Russia in Syria should give everybody pause for thought.

    1. James Martin says:

      Bad weekend for you then David, what with the liberation of Palmyra by the SAA. At least you are in the same company as the US state department though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxs7yog_CjM

        1. David Ellis says:

          Celebrating the re-taking of Palmyra by the re-radicalised tyranny of Assad from ISIS is like celebrating the liberation of Mussolini’s Italy by Adolph Hitler.

      1. James Martin says:

        Well at least like that eejit Gerry Downing you’ve outed yourself as an ISIS supporter David, bit of a pattern for you developing here isn’t there given you were very much a cheerleader for the fascist Right-Sector thugs at the time of the Kiev coup as well who you also described as ‘revolutionaries’. As to others who have welcomed the Palmyra liberation they are many and widespread, and for obvious reasons. But let me put it like this. When British troops liberated Europe from the fascists and opened the gates of Bergen-Belsen it was at a time when Britain enslaved millions in the colonies around the globe, but it was still a wonderful liberation. When US troops did the same and opened the gates of Buchenwald it was at a time when the USA was already the largest imperialist power and economically dominating the world, but it was still a wonderful liberation. And when Red Army troops did the same and opened the gates of Auschwitz it was at a time when huge numbers had suffered and died in Stalin’s Gulags – but yes, it was still a wonderful liberation. And yet the ISIS clerical-fascists are driven from the priceless monuments to previous civilisations they have half-destroyed, from the places where they have butchered, raped and enslaved so many, and you just splutter your disgust. It is not my politics that are degenerate David, but your own and in a very nasty way.

        1. James Martin says:

          Your analogy is farcical David, not least because if you are a religious minority in areas controlled by ISIS you will die a horrible death. If you are a religious minority in areas controlled by the SAA you will be protected – or do you wish to argue that basic but fundamental difference? Likewise the current significant advances by the socialist/secular Kurdish YPG forces in Syria against the ISIS and Nusra Front clerical-fascists is a sole result of the very close coordinated air support they have been getting from Russia, who also insisted that the YPG were present at the Geneva peace talks when everyone else wanted to either ignore or oppose them. You should perhaps ponder why it is that your own degenerate politics line you up time and time again with fascists, or is a bit of self-reflection too painful for you?

  8. historyintime says:

    Why would the US deliberately target civilians? I mean seriously, that’s of no strategic benefit and can only lead to scandal and possible war crimes cases.

    1. David Ellis says:

      Well it didn’t when they obliterated Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima or 98% of Pyongyang or half of Vietnam etc, etc.

      1. historyintime says:

        In the above cases, the enemy was being bombed, including through de-facto targeting of civilians.

        In this case ISIS is the enemy, but the civilians are not part of ISIS, they are our allies. There is no strategic motive to attack them, the reverse in fact.

        The correct analogy would be if the UK had targeted civilians in occupied Norway in WW2, or the US deliberately targeting south Vietnamese people when the North was in control of the area.

  9. Bazza says:

    100 years ago rival European capitalist nations perhaps had virtually complete hegemony over their populations.
    Banging their national drums they were able to set millions of European workers against each other (in the real interests of the rich and powerful); and tragically 16m died in WW1.
    With the rise of education and political education it could be argued this hegemony was eroded to an extent.
    Since the experience of the Iraq War Western Governments now seem wary about using ground troops and of public opinion.
    As Left wing democratic socialists perhaps we need to think of possible motives and I try to be meticulous and honest in using evidence/sources of information and in posing questions.
    And perhaps the US often Gung Ho approach may be a contributing factor here?
    We need to win hearts and minds whilst of course for so called IS their policy is to spread terror; as though everyone in the West supports their governments when millions marched against the Iraq War.
    When the UK voted to go into Syria to bomb IS we were told the first targets were oil refineries and pumping stations but I wondered at the time if these were being staffed by workers (who probably had little say in the matter).
    But there were no reports from the ground and the bombing updates stopped.
    There was a report a while back in the Guardian on last years bombing raids in Iraq (we were invited in) which said 150 IS fighters had been killed but there were no civilian casualties which seems quite remarkable.
    I don’t believe “the means justify the end” and as left wing democratic socialists we need to be honest in arguments, meticulous in evidence gathering and have reliable sources of information and to pose the right questions.
    After all we seek to empower the working class/working people, and perhaps it is better to do it WITH and not for.

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