Anyone who truly believes that Donald Trump cares about human rights in Syria or Iran is naïve at best, or flat-out lying to you. This is the same Donald Trump who, in his first six months in office, dropped 20,650 bombs in approximately seven countries across the Middle East, a significant bulk of which fell in Syria. Syria of course being a sovereign nation which has not authorized the United States’ use of force there, making their military presence in the country completely illegal.
Of course, if anyone needed it to be confirmed for them that in fact, the U.S. is not even remotely concerned by human rights, you need only take a look at this memo written by an advisor for former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, which explained “the debate over how far to emphasize human rights, democracy promotion, and liberal values in American foreign policy.”
“Allies should be treated differently—and better—than adversaries. Otherwise, we end up with more adversaries, and fewer allies,” the memo stated, written by Tillerson’s influential policy aide, Brian Hook.
“The classic dilemma of balancing ideals and interests is with regard to America’s allies. In relation to our competitors, there is far less of a dilemma. We do not look to bolster America’s adversaries overseas; we look to pressure, compete with, and outmaneuver them,” Hook also wrote. “For this reason, we should consider human rights as an important issue in regard to U.S. relations with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. And this is not only because of moral concern for practices inside those countries. It is also because pressing those regimes on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically.”
According to the memo, this should not be the case when dealing with American allies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines because it “is not as though human rights practices will be improved if anti-American radicals take power in those countries.”
We could spend all day documenting the human rights abuses of those aforementioned countries if we wanted to. But in order to illustrate the double-standards and hypocrisy of the United States, what better country to analyze than the United States itself?
Of course, if it wasn’t for American support of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be enabled to do the very things it is doing right now. The U.S. has sold Saudi Arabia well over 50 billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry (supposedly, Donald Trump was going to sell them $110 billion worth last year) even while the U.S. had already been warned that their support for Saudi Arabia may attract legal attention to the U.S. as a co-belligerent in Saudi-led war crimes in Yemen.
It’s time to stop humoring the United States when it starts to demonize countries like Iran and Syria for allegedly doing on a smaller scale what the U.S. and its allies do on a routine basis.
Since taking office, Trump relaxed Obama-era restrictions on air strikes, meaning even Iraqi commanders on the field could call them in with zero oversight. The result has been widespread civilian suffering, including one particular bombardment which saw the death of well over 200 civilians in a single strike. A special Associated Press report accused the U.S.-led battle of Mosul of resulting in at least 9,000 civilian deaths.
Speaking of Iraq, some estimates are suggesting that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 has led to the deaths of 2.4 million Iraqis. In July last year, the Washington D.C.-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study which found that despite “all the inaccuracies…the answers still allowed for the conclusion that approximately one third of all victims of violence had been directly killed by the occupation forces.”
In other words, even if we took the most conservative estimate of the Iraq war’s death toll, the United States military and its allies still killed one third of that conservative estimate, meaning the U.S. has actively killed tens of thousands of people in that one country alone.
Prior to the U.S.-NATO assault in Libya in 2011, Libya actually had the highest standard of living out of any country in Africa according to the U.N. Human Development Index (HDI). It famously had state-sponsored health care, among other social services, which was once dubbed “the envy of the region.” In 2015, some years later, it fell 27 places on the U.N. HDI ratings in that year alone.
The U.S. was even backing known al-Qaeda operatives in order to topple the Libyan government. The headlines never warned us about this at the time, as we were told that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was about to commit a mass genocide against his own people. However, this again turned out to be another propaganda effort to use human rights as a political tool to oppose America’s adversaries, taken right out of the playbook. As noted by the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn:
“NATO leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.
“An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast doubt on them. It also found indications that on several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.” (emphasis added)
NATO even bombed a Libyan water irrigation system which transported water for approximately 70 percent of the Libyan population. If we were to talk about human rights, what greater human right is there than civilian access to water?
It shouldn’t take a genius to see that allegations of human rights abuses by the Syrian government and the Iranian government – and the people of Iran’s desire for “freedom” is not actually something genuinely considered by the United States. This is a political tool that the U.S. uses in order to garner support for a regime change operation, one which has been on the cards for Syria and Iran at least since the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Right now, it is the Palestinian people who are crying out for freedom, and in turn are being met by Israeli snipers. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) even gunned down a journalist with a big vest marked “PRESS” on it. The people of Gaza are without basic human rights such as access to electricity, clean water, and are subject to routine bombing in what is widely regarded as an open air prison. If we were to really be concerned with human rights, this would be the place to start.
It’s time to stop humoring the United States when it starts to demonize countries like Iran and Syria for allegedly doing on a smaller scale what the U.S. and its allies do on a routine basis. If the media did their job properly, it wouldn’t even entertain Trump’s allegations of human rights abuses, especially in full knowledge of what kind of person Trump is.
A narcissistic, mass-murdering, human-rights abusing, racist billionaire with a four-minute attention span who once asked the CIA “why did you wait?”, when they showed him recorded footage of a drone strike which allegedly held off on striking until the target had moved away from his family home.
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