“We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write ‘fuck’ on their airplanes because it’s obscene!” Thus speaks Green Beret Major Kurz (Marlon Brando) at the end of Apocalypse Now. The phrase sums up the current Western hypocrisy. War should be obscene, but only the words of the isolationist, sexist and racist mogul Donald Trump cause indignation. He represents the worst of America and, perhaps because of that, he is the Republican presidential candidate in the U.S. This election will decide the fate-decline of America, reduced to a clash of opposing marital infidelities, bringing into the arena the private and public responsibilities of Hillary Clinton.
They competed to be the one who supports Netanyahu most in oppressing the Palestinians, but it did not cause outrage. The Donald promised that if he becomes president, “Jerusalem will be the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” Another bomb in the Middle East, as Clinton’s declaration of “non-interference between the parties”, while the Israeli government extends the colonies, the Palestinian National Authority lost all authority and the situation in the Occupied Territories degenerates.
Nor is it obscene that Trump reopened hostilities in America’s backyard, from the anti-migrant wall with Mexico to the suspension of the agreements with Cuba, that actually have never been defined.
Nor is the cheerful theater on Syria considered repugnant, with full deployment of NATO only to accuse Russia of war crimes in Aleppo. Obama began the condemnation, then, at the end of his useless term, Ban Ki-moon spoke, followed by Gentiloni, then came Hollande and Wednesday the British Foreign Minister Johnson, the one who promoted Brexit. But would you expect that a serial killer would go on the record denouncing another serial killer? Why have we forgotten the Afghan, Yemeni and Syrian hospitals rocked by U.S. raids in recent months?
Those are also war crimes, but the U.S. simply apologizes, and that’s it. Of course, the Russian air raids are criminal: They should be denounced to promote the opening of humanitarian corridors for civilians. They massacre the defenseless. It is urgent to set up a ceasefire, as implored Thursday by the Pope, who in September 2013 prevented another American intervention with a worldwide prayer. Meanwhile, even as I write this, the resumption of dialogue has been announced for Saturday. But wasn’t the purpose, at least ostensibly, to defeat the Islamic State that holds hostage — the expression human shields has lost its meaning; it is no longer used — the inhabitants of the beautiful and battered Aleppo?
It’s true that the U.N. envoy Staffan De Mistura called on al Nusra (al Qaeda) to come out of that siege, and offered to escort it and the Al Qaeda militia elsewhere. Actually, it is obscene that at the present stage of the U.S. presidential campaign, ISIS has disappeared from the Democratic rhetoric. Probably because this would reveal the responsibility of the West and the U.S. administration, which inherited the political ravages of previous wars by Bush and Bill Clinton, in Iraq and Afghanistan, grafting new military adventures in Libya and later in Syria.
Obama opposed both but was pulled in by then Secretary of State Clinton (not only by email). Now Obama is campaigning on her behalf, concerned about the “garbage dump Trump,” but just last March, he denounced the “shit show” that followed the 2011 war that ousted Gaddafi.
Let’s not forget that Russia joined the Syrian crisis a year ago to remove the U.S., mired in another failure. At the time, the U.S. was missing links with the armed opposition it wanted to support and had to admit, more or less, that it consciously supported armed jihadism, plus the substantial delegation of the crisis to Sultan Erdogan’s allied Turkey. The latter meanwhile relaunched the Ottoman strategy, financed jihadism with arms and oil trade and reoccupied parts of Iraq and Syria. Putin returned to the scene, after the shooting down of the Russian Civil airplane, almost in alliance with Obama. He began to coordinate military actions both with the U.S. and France, that joined the bombings after the terrorist attacks on French soil.
Now Russia seems ostracized. Wedensday, the daily Il Corriere della Sera put on the front page an embellished, less-than-truthful headline: “Russia on war footing, encouraged by the Kremlin to prepare for the clash with the West.” It brings us back to a semi-cold war, a situation than can only worsen. Putin comes back, as he did in Ukraine, to assume the role of the enemy.
Allow me to reiterate: The Russian raids are a war crime, as much as hitting a hospital. But how many hospitals has the U.S. bombed in the last few years, massacring civilians? The obscenity of war is of course biased. While hidden is what caused the failure of the truce — difficult if not impossible because of the inability to identify extremists and non-extremists on the battlefield — formally established on Sept. 10 by Serghei Lavrov and John Kerry, it was the American bombing, “by mistake,” on Sept. 17, 2015, of Assad barracks in Deir Zour Er, besieged by jihadists, killing 90 Syrian soldiers. From there, it became clear that the battle of Aleppo (like the battle of Mosul in Iraq and the confrontation of Sirte in Libya, which hasn’t stopped since August) would enter into the American election campaign.
Whoever wins Aleppo will win the war, so it is impossible to suffer defeat and leave the legacy of a setback. The battle must therefore obscenely continue, even knowing that there will be no negotiation table, because the “democratic” opposition does not exist and rebels coordinate with the jihadists and the Al Nusra Front (it changed its name, but it is still affiliated with al Qaeda). And no one can imagine negotiating peace with the worst armed jihadism. But leaving Russia as the only approved power to really fight ISIS can be even more short-sighted and dangerous. Putin takes advantage of this, allowing Sultan Erdogan to recover economically and undermining the Western military alliance with Egypt.
The only one who takes advantage of this U.S. setback is the repugnant Trump, to “make America great again.” The chaos of war is obscene.