Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and historian from Washington, about the international response to the ongoing crisis in Syria.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: What would the Syrian government have to gain by using chemical weapons on its own people at this time?
Tarpley: Well let me say first of all, there is absolutely no proof that the Syrian government did this. Indeed it seems to me the suspicion goes the other way.
I would endorse the statement of the Russian foreign ministry, “it has all of the earmarks of a carefully, preplanned provocation” by this terrorist opposition in Syria – the so-called death squads. They need it because they’re losing, since the fall of Qusayr on the 5th of June. We’ve had key neighborhoods in Homs that have been liberated by the Syrian government. We’ve had the rebels really in full retreat the whole summer. It’s been a very grim military panorama for them. They’ve tried to balance that by making little sallies near Latakia. The Latakia front has now been shut down again by the Syrian army, and some other areas.
Generally speaking, the rebels have been in a kind of a slow motion route, so they are desperately depending on foreign intervention. They need the United States to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. Without US intervention, they’re doomed.
So, everybody knows with this ‘red line’ stuff going on, the only way you can get the United States to start bombing Syria is to mount a fake provocation. I would refer people to the Voltaire Network website where we have these indications that the film that was posted on YouTube before the so-called incident was supposed to take place.
If you look at the internal evidence of these films, you’ll see that there are many things that seem strange, for example some of the victims don’t show the symptoms of sarin poisoning. I won’t go into this now because it’s quite graphic. But if you go and look at the symptoms of somebody dying of sarin, you’ll see that there are some very messy ones that are not shown in any of these films.
Press TV: Interesting what Mr. Kaplan has just said. He says every time that the regime of Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons – but we saw even earlier, a representative from the United Nations, Carla Del Ponte, who went in there and actually said that she saw no signals that the Syrian government had used the weapons; however, quite likely that it was coming from the insurgents. Your take on all this, sir.
Tarpley: Of course it’s claim and counter-claim. But in the middle of this, there is no proof on the side of the people who want to blame Assad.
Here in the United States about two months ago, we had the Obama administration concluding with great fanfare that Assad had used chemical weapons and they said they had proof. Well, we want to see it. The days are long gone when you can get away without that.
Let me just put this in perspective, though. I’ve just been walking by the White House. We had the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day demonstration. There was a meeting of the National Security Council going on – are they going to bomb Syria or attack with cruise missiles? And they’re talking about this, comparing it to the bombing of Serbia in 1999.
I would point out that there are big, big differences that people should watch out for. First of all in 1999, you were dealing with a country, Yugoslavia, that was practically defenseless. In this case, Syria has advanced cruise missiles, advanced air defense systems. In those days, the president of Russia was a drunk, Yeltsin.
Today it’s Putin, a very astute and formidable figure. The latest I’ve heard was that Interfax was reporting that Russia will strengthen its Mediterranean squadron as an answer to Obama sending these four destroyers to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The other big difference is that today the American people are sick and tired of war. In 1999, that was not yet the case. There was still some interest in foreign adventures.
The other thing that Obama should remember is that today you have a Republican Party made up in affect of lunatics who are waiting for their chance to impeach them. The Republicans felt that they did it wrong last time. They tried to impeach Clinton before the bombing of Yugoslavia. If they had waited until after the bombing of Yugoslavia, they would have been able to impeach him. This time, they want the war first and the impeachment second.
In the middle of all this, look at Obama. Obama is obviously not in favor of bombing Syria. He’s been dragging his feet. He’s been making excuses. We even hear that the United States has delivered very little of these famous weapons that were supposed to go to the Syrian rebels. Very little has been done in that official regard. I’m sure that there are other shipments that are going on. Dempsey of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is telling members of Congress that he does not want war.
Press TV: Mr. Tarpley, let’s look at what Mr. Kaplan is saying about the introduction of poison gas in warfare. It takes me back to the 1980s when the forces of Saddam Hussein, which were supplied by the United States and others, actually used chemical weapons, poisonous gas, and this was ignored, totally, as far as the international media and also the political circle.
However, Mr. Tarpley, all of a sudden now that this happens, once again I will reiterate, with the international observers on the ground, suddenly we see the mainstream media and we see political circles beating the drums of war and waving the flags of human rights. Your take on all this and the role of the media in all of this.
Tarpley: I would first say that the nonchalance of the other speaker is exactly the kind of lightheaded foolishness out of which World Wars can occur. The fact that the Israelis feel free to bomb Russian weapon shipments, it seems to me, takes us right to the brink of some kind of cataclysm that I don’t want to contemplate right now. The Israelis should back off their attacks on these Russian military assets.
The idea that you can simply blunder into Syria and bomb whatever you want, I think this is an obsolete attitude that has grown out of this idea that war is a one-way street: war is what the US and the Israelis do to somebody else and the inanimate object does not respond. Well, as Von Clausewitz says, it does respond and that can make it pretty, pretty uncomfortable for you!
Now, what we have is Fabius of France, Hague of Britain, the Israelis, Davutoglu of Turkey, we’ve got McCain, we’ve got neo-cons and they’re all beating the drums, screaming for war. These Europeans and Israelis are all willing to fight to the last Americans, right? When you go to a demonstration like the one I’ve just been to, we have poor black people, we have poor Appalachian people. They’re the ones who are going to die in something like this. Again, the American people have one answer to this and it is ‘no’.
I urge Obama to maintain his presence. He’s conflicted. He better stay conflicted because if he goes down this road, he will be impeached. The same McCain that is urging him into war right now will turn around and impeach him.
I would urge Obama to fire the principle war mongers – that would be Kerry, that would be Susan Rice, that would be Samantha Power and some others – and listen to the advice of General Dempsey who is telling him don’t do it: any bombing will not be decisive militarily, but it will make the United States decisively committed to a conflict like this.
Let the powers in the region, let the Israelis above all, if they’re so threatened, let them take care of this. They should be on their own.
Press TV: Mr. Kaplan said that this is similar to World War II. If we look at, though, the FSA and those that the United States and their allies – the Saudis and the petrol dollars are supporting – many have witnessed time and time again during these two-and-a-half years of unbelievable crimes as far as beheadings, we have seen even organs being eaten. So the United States – are these the supporters of human rights that they’re trying to encourage?
Tarpley: I’m not supporting the cannibals. I’m not supporting the rebels who have used chemical weapons in particular as provocations. These are rebels that fight among themselves. The various leaders kill each other. Those rebels represent, I’m afraid, the collapse of civilization.
You’re dealing with historical analogies, fine. You have the wrong historical analogy. The correct historical analogy is not 1939; it’s 2002, 2003 when we had the pompous neo-cons – the Wolfowitz, the Cheneys, the Bush, the youngers, so forth – assuring us that Saddam Hussein was the new Hitler and everything in the world depended on getting rid of this guy who could strike any capital in the world in 45 minutes. That was a fantastic fiction. What we’re dealing with today is an equally fantastic or more fantastic fiction about Assad and the chemical weapons. Assad has no need of chemical weapons. He’s winning without them.
You’re constantly citing the 300 Jordanian ‘supermen’ who have been trained by the Israelis, the US and the Jordanians, and somehow this irresistible spearhead of 300 trained fighters is going to go all the way to Damascus is pure nonsense. This is the Figaro story.
All of these things have been discredited and the credibility of the stuff here in the United States is at an all-time low. Any intelligent person does not want to hear about how Assad is now threatening the liberty of the world.
The difference now is that with the presence of Russia on the side of Syria – contrary to what you say, this connection persists – and the presence of Iran [and] other new powers, a changed military landscape, the constant adventurism that was criminal in 2003 turns to a suicidal adventurism.
By Press TV
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