As a person with Syrian roots (and relatives impacted by the mess there) I have to comment on how eye opening to the reality of propaganda our involvement there has been.
The US government often relies on the fact that Americans have a well known tendency to not travel abroad, broadly speaking. This gives the narrative-spinners an advantage that doesn’t exist in Europe, that being that American/Americans have little first hand international experience to bounce the logic of these narratives off of.
That all said, here are the events that caught my attention regarding the Syrian escapade:
- The bad-smelling narrative in Syria started during the Obama administration, when suddenly Bashir Assad mutated overnight from one of the least oppressive Middle Eastern dictators into Saddam Hussein x 10. I speak from family experience on this matter, in that my father in law was once a political prisoner in Syria. It’s not that unfair incarceration and torture never happens in Syria………but it’s not common and in the case of torture, rather rare. So, it was clear to me that the news was being tweaked.
- It should also be said here that the narrative that was being developed, that Assad was a brutal dictator that holds his power by violence, was crap. Assad is relatively popular in Syria as Middle Eastern leaders go, and brutal dictators are generally not popular. (It’s worth mentioning here that all US rhetoric regarding Assad was always framed as “Assad Must Go”, not “Syria must have free and fair elections”. Why? Because Assad most likely would be elected, if there were free and fair elections.
- The next major obvious sign of propaganda was the Clinton/McCain/Graham contention that the way to “make Assad go” was to provide arms to something called the “moderate Syrian rebels”. The problem here is that there ARE no “moderate Syrian rebels”; the Syrians with whom Assad is NOT popular with are religious fundamentalists of both the Sunni and Shia sects, because (a) islamist fundamentalists want a religious government, while Assad is a secularist, and (b) Assad is a member of the Alawi sect, and neither the Sunni nor Shia consider him a “real Muslim”. (Plus, to add insult to injury from their standpoint, Assad’s wife is a Christian.)
- Of course, we find, later on, that many of the aforementioned weapons given to the “moderate syrian rebels” ended up in the hands of ISIS. (Nobody in Syria was surprised by this news.)
- The final straw, unsurprisingly, was the alleged gas attacks. There was no question, said the “authorities”, that Assad was using lethal gas against his own people. The proof given was that the “signature” of the lethal gas matched the signatures of that known to be in the possession of Syria.
- There are two problems with #4. The first is that one or more of the weapons depots where Syrian lethal gas was stored was known to be taken by ISIS early in the confrontation, meaning that it was nonsensical to say that you knew that Assad was to blame; both parties had access to the same materials. (The second problem is that doing this to his own people is entirely out of character from Assad, historically.)
After those…..everything related to Syria falls into place. How it was never mentioned that the official status of Russia in Syria was “ally”, and our official status in Syria was “invader”. How the ISIS front was essentially made up of Syrian regulars, Russian forces, and the Kurdish militia. Etc., etc., etc.
There has been a marked rise in conspiracy theories over the last 1–2 decades. The influence of conspiracy theories in a society is directly proportional to the mistrust the people have in the media. Expect this problem, which manifests itself in multiple (but defensible) spins on the actual truth.
Expect this problem to get worse, not better.