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October 26, 2005

Who Are We to Pick Syria's President?


Could someone recommend one for us?

by Paul Craig Roberts

Someone should tell Condi Rice that the game is up. With the Bush administration dissolving in illegalities committed by key officials in their attempts to protect the lies that they used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the secretary of state is trying to ramp up war against Syria.

Grasping a UN report that uses unreliable witnesses to implicate Syria in the assassination of a former Lebanese government official, Condi Rice told the BBC on Oct. 23 that Syria's crime cannot be "left lying on the table. This really has to be dealt with."

This is amazing for many reasons. Here is the person in charge of U.S. diplomacy acting as if she is the secretary of war unsheathing military force. Whoever heard of an American diplomat wanting to start a war because a former Middle Eastern government official was assassinated?

The UN investigator, Detlev Mehlis, has no more idea who assassinated the former official than the U.S. knows who is responsible for assassinating the many Iraqi officials under its protection. After more than two and one-half years of war in Iraq, the U.S. still doesn't know exactly whom it is fighting. Yet Mehlis blames Syria for an assassination on the strength of an informer described by the German news magazine Der Spiegel as a convicted felon and swindler.

On the basis of the word of a convicted felon and swindler, Condi Rice wants a high level UN Security Council meeting to condemn Syria so the Bush administration can bring about "regime change" in Syria.

With the U.S. Department of State doing everything it can to demonize and destabilize Syria, Condi Rice's mouthpiece, Adam Ereli, declared that Syria must end attempts to destabilize its neighbors. This is the type of propaganda we were fed about Iraq. Syria is not destabilizing any country. It is all Syria can do to maintain its own stability. The U.S. is the great Middle East destabilizer.

Isn't the secretary of state aware that the government of which she is a part is in dire difficulties because it went to war based on highly unreliable "intelligence" supplied by highly unreliable people?

Does the secretary of state read the CIA reports? Doesn't she know that the U.S. has created extraordinary instability in Iraq? A country that formerly had no terrorists now serves as a training ground for al-Qaeda, according to the CIA.

Is this the time to repeat the Iraq blunder in Syria?

The American people should be terrified by the warmongering ideologues that President Bush has put in charge of his government. The greatest danger that the U.S. faces are the fools in the Bush administration.

Why is Syria being demonized? Syrian troops were part of the U.S. coalition organized by President George Herbert Walker Bush that liberated Kuwait in 1991 from Saddam Hussein. The current head of government in Syria is a mild-mannered ophthalmologist who inherited the post five years ago because his older brother, the original heir apparent, had died in a car crash.

Syria has done nothing to the U.S. and poses no threat to the U.S. The Syrian government is concerned about Syria becoming unhinged by schisms like the Sunni-Shi'ite schism set loose in Iraq by the incompetent Bush administration.

Why does Condi Rice think the Bush administration has the right to decide who heads the Syrian government? According to news reports, the Bush administration has asked the Israeli and Italian governments to nominate a replacement for the current president of Syria.

A country incapable of choosing a better president than George W. Bush has no business choosing a president for any other country. In place of aggressive interference in the internal affairs of other countries, the U.S. needs to find a competent president for itself.

Maybe we should ask the Italians whom they would recommend.


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    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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