The bad, the bad, and the sickening 2

We have often wondered how the staffers of the New York Times could stomach the poisonous ideas they swallow, digest, and apparently enjoy.

Now we learn there is something they have gagged on at last: this video. The maidens at The Times have blacked out half of it, being considerate of the public’s susceptibilities. We have seen worse, but apparently The Times staffers have not.

The result of their shock and horror seems to be that, at this late date, they find fault with the jihadist rebels in Syria, although their hero, Barack Obama, is keen on supporting them with American military might.

We have taken the video and text from The Daily Beast:

The raw video was so grisly, and so barbaric, that the New York Times staffers who watched and edited it for online publication were made “physically ill”, according to the newspaper’s spokeswoman. …

The scene of Syrian rebels standing over seven soldiers of the Syrian regular army while the rebel commander recited a bloodthirsty poem — and pointing rifles and a pistol at the heads of their prostrate, shirtless, and badly beaten prisoners — was shocking enough. Times video editors tactfully blackened the screen as the rebels — who, just like the United States government, oppose the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad — began to execute the soldiers; the only indication of the slaughter taking place was a noisy fusillade of 10 seconds in length. Then an image flashed of the broken bodies in a mass grave. …

The video — which the Times reported was obtained a few days ago from “a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings” and smuggled it out of Syria — is suddenly haunting the Obama administration, and it could not have surfaced at a more inopportune moment. For the past six days, President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other officials have been waging an all-hands-on-deck public-relations and lobbying campaign to gain congressional authorization next week to punish the Assad regime with a military strike for its [alleged – ed.] illegal use of poison gas against thousands of Syrian civilians, including young children.

The potential U.S. action, probably a cruise-missile attack, is also being marketed as an early step to help the Syrian opposition — an inchoate agglomeration that apparently includes Islamic jihadists, al Qaeda members, and other avowed enemies of America [including the Muslim Brotherhood much beloved by President Obama – ed.— and ultimately drive Assad from power. But the president’s plan is widely unpopular domestically, and in terms of sheer impact, the Times video is not doing any favors for the campaign to sell it. It hardly matters that the executions reportedly occurred more than a year ago, in the spring of 2012—not this past April, as the Times initially claimed, while offering no explanation for its embarrassing mistake and correction.

“Because the White House and, more broadly, those arguing for direct U.S. military intervention are portraying this as a battle between ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’, to put it in crude terms, this video demonstrates that there are bad guys on both sides,” said Ed Husain, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It does make a mockery of Secretary Kerry’s praise on Wednesday [before the House Foreign Affairs Committee] for the Syrian opposition.”

But the brain-challenged Secretary of State John Kerry, who is making Obama’s pitch to Congress and the nation for interference on the rebels’ side, knows of quite another rebel army, having nothing to do with this vile lot, and insists – by implication – that the guys he and the President are supporting would never do anything like that.

Kerry, appearing Thursday night on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes, was at pains  to minimize the video’s influence on the debate in Washington and beyond. “No,” he insisted when Hayes asked if the killers in the video “become, by definition, our allies.” Kerry argued: “In fact, I believe that those men in those videos are disadvantaged by an American response to the chemical-weapons use because it, in fact, empowers the moderate opposition.” Kerry added that “they [the killers in the video and their co-fighters] are not part of the opposition that is being supported by our friends and ourselves”. 

And so does the other war advocate with special mental needs, John McCain:

Similarly, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the leading congressional voice in support of a more robust U.S. military intervention in Syria than even President Obama is proposing, all but ignored the video.

“He hasn’t put a [statement] out on it, except to point out that the moderate opposition and their military council immediately condemned it,” a McCain spokesman emailed me, citing a press release from the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces declaring that “they, and all mainstream opposition groups, condemn in the strongest possible terms any actions that contravene international law. Additionally,” the press release continued, “killing or mistreating captured soldiers, or those who have surrendered, is an affront to the hopes and principles [? -ed.] that fueled the initial popular uprising against the Assad regime.”

Oh yeah! How many people are members of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces? Our guess? Fewer than there are words in their grand-sounding name.

But Husain said the video presents a compelling argument against such reassuring boilerplate. “The implications are that Senator McCain and others leading the charge that the Syrian opposition seeks democracy are mistaken,” he said. “Time and again, opposition fighters have shown callous disregard for human life in the same way as the Assad regime … These images ought to be a wakeup call for those who think Syria is headed for a better future under the rebels.”

No Arab state is headed for a better future. None foreseeable even with that most powerful of telescopes, wishful thinking.

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Hmm. A war crime, murdering prisoners is.

  • liz

    Amazing how John Kerry had no problem accusing American soldiers of war atrocities, and condemning the US military during Vietnam, but now has no problem making excuses for barbaric Muslim animals who do this sort of thing not as an exception, but as a rule.