Neal Shine, the nonpareil city editor of the Detroit Free Press, used to say of certain politicians: "He has the reverse Midas touch: everything golden that he touches turns to shit."
Paul Craig Roberts, the former Nixon administration official who has become one of the most enlightened foreign policy critics in these parts, points out in a recent post how the reverse Midas touch applies to the United States role in the Middle east.
Syria has a secular government as did Iraq prior to the American invasion. Secular governments are important in Arab lands in which there is division between Sunni and Shi'ite. Secular governments keep the divided population from murdering one another.
When the American invasion, a war crime under the Nuremberg standard set by the US after WWII, overthrew the Saddam Hussein secular government, the Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites went to war against one another. The civil war between Iraqis saved the American invasion (but) the consequence of the US invasion was not democracy and women's rights in Iraq, much less the destruction of weapons of mass destruction which did not exist as the weapons inspectors had made perfectly clear beforehand. The consequence was to transfer political power from Sunnis to Shi'ites. The Shi'ite version of Islam is the Iranian version. Thus, Washington's invasion transferred power in Iraq from a secular government to Shi'ites allied with Iran.
Now Washington intends to repeat its folly in Syria.Washington's hostility toward Assad is hypocritical. On February 26, the Syrian government held a referendum on a new constitution for Syria that set term limits on future presidents and removed the political monopoly that the Ba'ath Party has enjoyed.
The Syrian voter turnout was 57.4%, matching the voter turnout for Obama in 2008. It was a higher voter turnout (despite the armed, western-supported rebellion in Syria) than in the nine U.S. presidential elections from 1972 through 2004. The new Syrian constitution was approved by a vote of 89.4%. But Washington denounced the democratic referendum and claims that the Syrian government must be overthrown in order to bring democracy to Syria.
Washington's allies in the region, unelected oil monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have issued statements that they are willing to supply weapons to the Islamist rebels in order to bring democracy -- something they do not tolerate at home -- to Syria.
For Washington "democracy" is a weapon of mass destruction. When Washington brings "democracy" to a country, it means the country's destruction, as in Libya and Iraq. It doesn't mean democracy. Libya is in chaos, a human rights nightmare without an effective government.
Washington installed Nouri al-Maliki as president of Iraq. He lost an election, but remained in power. He has declared his vice president to be a terrorist and ordered his arrest and is using the state police to arrest Sunni politicians. Syria's Assad is more democratic than Iraq's Maliki.
Or, to paraphrase a character in Walt Kelly's comic strip Pogo, "Declared Democracy on 'em, eh? Didn't know we wuz even mad at the rascals."